Evelyn Brent

QUESTION:  After which of the following was the dance "the foxtrot" named?
A). A "foxy" lady strutting her stuff
B). Vaudeville actor Harry Fox
C). The mammal, the fox, and its agility and speed
D). A racehorse named Fox

Last week, the American Treasure Tour blog spent some time discussing a classic silent-era gangster film called Underworld. We also talked about its two male leads: George Bancroft and Clive Brook. We saved our female lead for today: Evelyn Brent. So many of the heartthrobs of yesterday have been forgotten today, but during the height of their popularity they evoked passions just like modern actors do for their fans today. Evelyn Brent had a natural beauty to her. In fact, that beauty is what led to her career in front of the camera. Born Mary Elizabeth Briggs in 1901, the Tampa, Florida native's mother passed away when she was just a girl. Raised by her father, she moved to New York City as a teenager and attended Normal School. That's where men and women, but mostly women, were educated in the art of education. She intended a life as a school teacher. Brent never taught, though. One day, she visited Fort Lee, New Jersey, and the World Film Studio. She was noticed by studio workers and two days later she got work as a paid extra. She was only fourteen years old when she made her film debut in 1915's The Shooting of Dan McGrew. She never looked back. After World War I, she visited London, and stayed a few years, acting on stage and screen. When she returned to the States in 1922, she hooked up with Paramount Pictures and achieved nationwide success. 

She starred in three films for Josef von Sternberg, including 1927's Underworld and the next year's The Last Command. Her career peaked by the end of the decade, but she still maintained popularity through the '30's and '40's, transitioning easily into talkies. By 1950, older than most female actors by that time, she became an actor's agent and remained in the business behind the scenes. With a resume of around 120 films, she did fairly well in the industry. It may very well be time to resurrect her career, and celebrate the artistry of Evelyn Brent!

ANSWER:  B). Vaudeville actor Harry Fox