Betty Compson

Photo: Albert Witzel (1879-1929)

1897 - 1974

The actress Betty Compson began to play violin for the Mission Theatre Orchester when she was at high school. When she went to San Francisco she got a fifteen-week engagement as a solo violinist. When she stood in Los Angeles for a show she made a screen test at Christie and got an contract at this company.

There she changed her first name Eleanor Lucime into Betty and began a great career with film comedies. To her well-known movies of the 10's belong "Almost a Widow" (15), "Love and a Savage" (15), "Mingling Spirits" (16), "Love and Vaccination" (16), "Eddie's Night Out" (16), "He's a Devil" (16), "All Over a Stocking" (16), "Wanted: A Husband" (16) and "Almost a Scandal" (17).
When there were discrepancies between Betty Compson and the company she dismissed on the spot.

She shot with director George Loane Tucker the movie "The Miracle Man" (18) and managed the breakthrough to a star with this work. They also worked together for "Ladies Must Love" (21) before Tucker died of cancer. Tuckers "farewell present" was a contract for Betty Compson with Paramount where she was one of the great stars for the next two years.

When she left Paramount, she appeared successfully in English movies between 1922 and 1924. Eventually she returned to Hollywood. In the meantime her English movie "Woman to Woman" (23) run successfully in the USA and Jesse Lasky called her again for Paraamount. There she appeared at James Cruze's side in the movie "The Enemy Sex" (24). Cruze and Compson got married in 1925.

To her well-known movies of the 20's belong "At the End of the World" (21), "Over the Border" (22), "The Law and the Woman" (22), "The Woman with Four Faces" (23), "The Female" (24), "The Stranger" (24), "Eve's Secret" (25), "Pony Express" (25), "The Wise Guy" (26) and "The Ladybird" (27).

At the end of the 20's she took part in a whole string of successful movies. On the one side she appeared in the box-office hit "The Big City" (28) at Lon Chaney's side, on the other side she played in "The Docks of New York" (28) - which went into film history as a classic, and finally "The Barker" (28) - for which she was nominated for the Oscar.
"The Barker" contained some speech passages and convinced the audience ant the company that Betty Compson's voice was very suitable for the coming talkies.

Betty Compson subsequently got many engagements in the 30's too. She appeared among others in the movies "Isle of Escape" (30), "Midnight Mystery" (30), "The Lady Refuses" (31), "Woman Pursued" (30), "West of Singapore" (33), "Manhattan Butterfly" (34), " The Millionaire Kid" (36), "Killer at Large" (36), "A Slight Case of Murder" (38) and "Hotel Imperial" (39).

Her fame droped visibly in the 40's, the appearances in movies were seldom. After roles in "Laughing at Danger" (40), "Mr. & Mrs. Smith" (41), "Invisible Ghost" (41), "Claudia and David" (46) and "Here Comes Trouble" (48) she retired from the film business.

After the divorce from James Cruze she got married with Irving Weinberg at the beginning of the 30's. But the marriage didn't last long. At the end of the 40's she got married the boxer Filvius Jack Gall with whom she founded the "Ashtrays Unlimited" company which produced special ashtrays for hotels, restaurants and so on.

Other movies with Betty Compson:
He Loved the Ladies (14) Wanted: A Leading Lady (15) Their Quiet Honeymoon (15) Where the Heather Blooms (15) Some Chaperone (15) Those Primitive Days (15) Jed's Trip to the Fair (16) Her Steady Carfare (16) A Quiet Supper for Four (16) When the Losers Won (16) Her Friend, the Doctor (16) Cupid Trims His Lordship (16) When Lizzie Disappeared (16) The Deacon's Waterloo (16) He Almost Eloped (16) A Leap Year Tangle (16) The Newlyweds' Mix-Up (16) Lem's College Career (16) Wooing of Aunt Jemima (16) The Janitor's Busy Day (16) Her Celluloid Hero (16) Potts Bungles Again (16) Wanted: A Husband (16) The Browns See the Fair (16) Hist! At Six O'Clock (16) Many a Slip (17) A Bold, Bad Knight (17) Those Wedding Bells (17) Out West (18) Border Raiders (18) Betty Wakes Up (18) The Prodigal Liar (19) The Light of Victory (19) The Little Diplomat (19) The Devil's Trail (19) Terror of the Range (19) Prisoners of Love (21) For Those We Love (21) The Little Minister (21) A Smoky Love Affair (21) Betty's Big Idea (21) The Green Temptation (22) The Bonded Woman (22) To Have and to Hold (22) Kick In (22) Always the Woman (22) The White Flower (23) The Rustle of Silk (23) The White Shadow (23) The Royal Oak (23) Miami (24) Ramshackle House (24) The Fast Set (24) The Garden of Weeds (24) The Prude's Fall (24) Locked Doors (25) New Lives for Old (25) Paths to Paradise (25) Beggar on Horseback (25) Counsel for the Defense (25) The Palace of Pleasure (26) The Belle of Broadway (26) Say It with Diamonds (27) Temptations of a Shop Girl (27) Cheating Cheaters (27) Love Me and the World Is Mine (28) The Desert Bride (28) Masked Angel (28) Life's Mockery (28) Court-Martial (28) Scarlet Seas (28) Weary River (29) On with the Show (29) The Time, the Place and the Girl (29) Street Girl (29) Skin Deep (29) The Great Gabbo (29) Woman to Woman (29) Blaze o' Glory (29) The Case of Sergeant Grischa (30) Those Who Dance (30) Czar of Broadway (30) Inside the Lines (30) The Spoilers (30) She Got What She Wanted (30) The Boudoir Diplomat (30) The Virtuous Husband (31) Three Who Loved (31) The Gay Diplomat (31) The Silver Lining (32) Guilty or Not Guilty (32) Destination Unknown (33) Notorious But Nice (33) No Sleep on the Deep (34) False Pretenses (35) August Weekend (36) Laughing Irish Eyes (36) Hollywood Boulevard (36) Bulldog Edition (36) The Drag-Net (36) Circus Girl (37) God's Country and the Man (37) Federal Bullets (37) Two Minutes to Play (37) Blondes at Work (38) Port of Missing Girls (38) Two Gun Justice (38) Torchy Blane in Panama (38) Under the Big Top (38) Religious Racketeers (38) News Is Made at Night (39) The Cowboys from Texas (39) Mad Youth (40) The Watchman Takes a Wife (41) Roar of the Press (41) Zis Boom Bah (41) Escort Girl (41) Confessions of a Vice Baron (42) Danger! Women at Work (43) Her Adventurous Night (46) Hard Boiled Mahoney (47) Second Chance (47)