Monday, March 16, 2009

By George


The quintessential "leading man," George Brent appeared with nearly every top-rank female star of the 1930's and 1940's: most notably, Bette Davis, with whom he co-starred in more than a dozen films; as well as Greta Garbo, Barbara Stanwyck, Myrna Loy, Claudette Colbert, Joan Fontaine, Merle Oberon, and Ann Sheridan (who was, briefly, the third Mrs. Brent). Always a leading man, never quite a superstar in his own right, Brent was the perfect foil for these glamorous, tempestuous women: strong, solid, and reliable, he let the personalities of his female co-stars shine through, without appearing like a milquetoast.

WITH ANN SHERIDAN IN HONEYMOON FOR THREE (1941)


WITH GRETA GARBO IN THE PAINTED VEIL (1934)


WITH BETTE DAVIS IN DARK VICTORY (1939)

Born March 15, 1899 in Ireland, Brent made his initial show biz splash on Broadway, in the provocatively titled Love, Honor and Betray (1930). He was brought to Hollywood as a possible Warner Bros. rival to Metro's rising he-man, Clark Gable; while Brent was handsome and likable, he lacked the dynamism which would place him in Gable's category. He also seemed perpetually bemused by the whole ordeal:


Shortly after his arrival in Hollywood, Brent married the elegant Ruth Chatterton, then one of the most highly-regarded stars of the day. Their two year marriage was followed by a short union with Australian Constance Worth, who starred in a number of Poverty Row productions and serials; and then his aforementioned nuptials with Ann Sheridan. These brief encounters were preludes for Brent's fourth and final marriage to ex-model Janet Michaels -- a partnership which lasted for 27 years, until her death in 1974.

RUTH CHATTERTON

CONSTANCE WORTH

George Brent retired once his leading man days were over in the early 1950's; his was not the kind of talent or image which would translate into character roles. He passed away in 1979 from emphysema; what he left behind was a legacy as perhaps the greatest leading man of the classic "Women's Picture" genre. And for that, we Women's Picture devotees salute him. Happy Birthday, George Brent!


GEORGE BRENT
March 15, 1899 - May 26, 1979

2 comments:

  1. Neat article and photos! Thanks. Dig that swimsuit...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm loving the swimsuit, too. If I weren't so self-conscious about my li'l love handles, I'd want one for myself...

    ReplyDelete

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