Friday, March 23, 2012

gone but not forgotten - betty compson


photographed by ernest bachrach, from street girl, 1930


with gary cooper in the spoilers, 1930

early 1920s


theodore kosloff giving ballet instruction to betty compson and paramount studio chorus girls, ca. 1922

betty compson 19 march, 1897 - 18 april, 1974 "the vagabond violinist" 

born eleanor luicime compson in beaver utah. when her father died she was forced to drop out of school & earn a living - compson started her career on vaudeville at 15 as a violinist. a few years later she landed a continuing role in movies as the heroine of dozens of al christie's comedy shorts. in 1916 she worked on 25 short films!

a top star in the 1920s she was earning as much as $5,000 a week - she even headed her own company, producing films that included prisoners of love in 1921. she would be deemed "washed up" several times but in 1928 she was nominated for best actress for the barker a silent film that include some talking scenes. she would make the transition to talkies and worked on & off until her last film here comes trouble in 1948.

after her retirement she ran a business with her husband called "ashtrays unlimited"....wonder what they sold?? she died of a heart attack at her home in glendale, california in 1974 at the age of 77.


  1. Thank you for the blog... I was searching for because my grandfather mentioned seeing "The Street Girl" at a theatre in Fredericton, N.B. in 1930. He wrote of the film "I went to the pictures this afternoon and saw the best picture I think I have ever seen. It was called “The Street Girl” and we all thought it was swell."

  2. glad you enjoy it! my friends dad is 96 & i love to hear his stories.....