Betty Compson ~ The Prettiest Girl

Betty Compson

Betty Compson was one of Hollywood's most beautiful and successful silent stars

She was born Eleanor Luicime Compson on March 19, 1897, in Beaver, Utah. Sadly her father died when she was a child. Betty dropped out of high school and got a job as a violinist at a local theater. While performing in vaudeville she was offered a contract with Al Christie's studio. In 1915 she 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 big break came in 1919 when she was cast opposite Lon Chaney in the hit drama The Miracle Man. She was signed to a five year contract with Paramount for $2500 a week. Betty was given leading roles in the dramas At The End Of The World and The Law And The Woman. The press called her "The Prettiest Girl in Pictures". In 1921 she became one of the first women to start her own production company. She produced and starred in the films Prisoners Of Love and For Those We Love. While making 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. On October 14, 1924 she married director James Cruz who had directed her in The Enemy Sex. 

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Betty Compson Nude
Betty posed semi-nude for Edwin Bower Hesser

The couple had a rocky relationship and separated several times. Unlike many other silent stars she was able to make the transition to talkies. She got rave reviews for her performance in Josef Von Sternbergs's drama The Docks Of New York. Then in 1928 she was nominated for an Academy award 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. By the early 1930s her career was in trouble. Betty began making low-budget films like Midnight Mystery and The Boudoir Diplomat with Jeanette Loff. She married producer Irving Weinberg, ex-husband of Ruby Blaine, in 1933. 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. In 1944 she married professional boxer Silvius John Gall. Soon after she decided to retire from Hollywood. Her final film was the 1948 comedy Here Comes Trouble. She 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. Betty is buried at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.

Betty CompsonBetty Compson