Friday, October 21, 2011

Barbara Kent, 1907-2011

I just read yesterday of the death of actress Barbara Kent several weeks shy of her 104th birthday. She's generally believed to have been the last living person to have become a star in Hollywood silent movies as an adult. (A few juveniles such as Mickey Rooney still survive.) That's probably true, but also a bit unfair. Kent was a supporting player in the Greta Garbo movie Flesh and the Devil. Amazingly enough, the screenwriter of the film Flesh and the Devil, Frederica Sagor Maas, is still alive at the age of 111.

If you watched last year's Moguls and Movie Stars documentary on TCM, you'll note that one of the interviewees for the silent era was an elderly Carla Laemmle, the niece of early Universal head Carl Laemmle. By sheer coincidence, yesterday was Carla Laemmle's 102d birthday.

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