Friday, September 26, 2008
Favorite Classic Movie Stars - GEORGE BRENT
George Brent was born as George Brendan Nolan, on March 15th, 1899 in Raharabeg, County Roscommon, Ireland. He was born to a family with a history of British Army Service, however during the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), Brent was part of an IRA Active Service Unit as early as 1920 carrying out IRA directives. He fled to Canada with a bounty set on his head by the British, although he claimed only to have been a courier for tactician Michael Collins.
In Canada, Brent toured with a stock company for two years before moving to New York. There, he continued to appear with several stock companies, three of which he formed on his own. He then found work on Broadway in the late twenties before heading for Hollywood.
Brent made his first film in 1930, and was signed to a contract with Warner Brothers with whom he worked for twenty years. He became one of Hollywoods top leading men of the late thirties and forties. Highly regarded by Bette Davis, he becamee her most frequent male co-star, appearing with her in thirteen films, including; "Front Page" in 1935, "Special Agent" in 1935, "The Golden Arrow" in 1936, Jezebel in 1938, "The Old Maid" in 1939, "Dark Victory" in 1939 and "The Great Lie" in 1941. He is most noted for his pencil thin moustache, and suave,gentlemanly, romantic, gallant manner. He was also one of Hollywoods most dependable leading men.
Brent drifted into "B" pictures in the late forties and retired from film in 1953. He continued to appear on television though until 1960.
Known as a womanizer in Hollywood, Brent reputedly carried on a long relationship with Bette Davis. He was married four times, three times to actress Ruth Chatterton (1932-1934), Constance Worth (1937), and Ann Sheridan (1942-1943). His final marriage was to Janet Michaels, a former model and dress designed, this marriage lasted twenty seven years until her death in 1974. They had two children, a daughter born in 1950 and a son born in 1954.
Bette Davis described in her final years her last meeting with Brent after many years of estrangement. He was suffering from emphysema and she later expressed great remorse at his ill health and sadness that such a virile and attractive man could have deteriorated so dramatically. He died shortly after in 1979 at the age of 80 in Solona Beach, California. Davis also mentioned that Brent was totally gray haired when he started working for Warner Brothers, and that he had to dye his hair black.