Betty Compson was one of Hollywood's most popular silent stars.
She was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. After her father's death she dropped out of high school to help her family. Betty began her show business career as a violinist and toured with her mother in vaudeville. She was offered a contract with Al Christie's studio in 1915 and made her film debut in Wanted, A Leading Lady. Over the next four years she appeared in more than forty shorts including Mingling Spirits, He's A Devil, and Down By The Sea. Her career really took off when she costarred with Lon Chaney in the 1919 drama The Miracle Man. Betty signed a five year contract with Paramount and starred in the dramas At The End Of The World and The Law And The Woman. She was called "The Prettiest Girl in Pictures". The talented blonde became one of the first women to run her own production company. In 1921 she produced and starred in the movies Prisoners Of Love and For Those We Love. While filming the drama Ladies Must Love she had an affair with married director George Loane Tucker. Betty left Paramount in 1923 when they refused to increase her salary. She married director James Cruz on October 14, 1924.
Betty posed semi-nude for Edwin Bower Hesser
Unfortunately they had a rocky relationship and separated several times. Unlike many other silent stars she was able to make the transition to talkies. Betty was nominated for an Academy award in 1928 for her performance in The Barker. Her marriage to James ended in 1930. Their divorce left her bankrupt and she was forced to sell her home. She continued to star in films like Midnight Mystery and The Boudoir Diplomat with Jeanette Loff. In 1933 she married producer Irving Weinberg, ex-husband of Ruby Blaine. The couple split up four years later. At their divorce trial she testified that he left her home alone while he went out with other women. Betty auditioned for the role of Belle in Gone With The Wind but lost the part to Ona Munson. She married professional boxer Silvius John Gall in 1944 and decided to retire from Hollywood. Her final film was the 1948 comedy Here Comes Trouble. Betty and her husband went into business together and were happily married until his death in 1962. On April 18, 1974 she died from a heart attack at the age of seventy-seven. She is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.