“Do what you please. Have a good time. Don’t be burdened with conventions and public opinions and all the meaningless gestures that clutter up life.” — Evelyn Brent
“I started to work when I was fourteen in the old World Studios in New York, I was put in stock doing all kinds of things – good experience, probably, but terribly tiresome and disheartening for such an ambitious young person. Of course, there wasn’t much money in it, and an awful lot of work. Then the World Film Company broke up, as a result of the film-patent war, and I played around in other studios, not getting much chance. Life seemed to be mostly getting up in the morning and traveling from Brooklyn to Fort Lee and then back again at night! But I was doing a little better – getting bits and small parts – maids and what-not – and I managed to save my money. The war was just over then and I had a great desire to go abroad. I was thoroughly tired of everthing here and longed to see new things. But getting passports was next to impossible and it was months before I could manage it – and that only by pulling every wire I knew. Finally, the all-important matter of a chaperon was arranged and over we went. I spent time in London – got an engagement on the stage, and then went to Paris for a glorious holiday. I spent all my money – but it was worth it! Then I came back to London and got a job in pictures almost immediately and from then on everything was wonderful. When I returned to New York, I married Bernie – and that was a very important step in my life!” — Evelyn Brent
“As you know, Douglas Fairbanks brought me from New York to the Coast to play his leading woman in ‘The Thief of Bagdad,’ but it took such a long time for the production to get started that I asked him release me from my contract so that I could get back on the screen. It is very dangerous for an actor or actress to stay in seclusion too long! It takes a ot of fame to live that down.” — Evelyn Brent
When silent film star Evelyn Brent first arrived in Los Angeles in 1922, she stayed at the Hollywood Hotel. A short time later, she and her new husband, Bernie P. Fineman, moved to the Hillview Apartments at 6531 Hollywood Blvd (now 6533).
The apartment building was built in 1917 by Jesse Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn for the specific purpose of providing luxury accommodations for film players. It had a spacious lobby, elevators, garbage incinerators, and a rehearsal space in the basement. It was even said to have had a speakeasy, located either on the ground floor or the basement.
One unusual story occurred in 1923, while Brent was filming Held to Answer. Apparently, she had a nervous breakdown brought on from exhaustion. Because her work on the film had not been completed, Brent offered to return to the studio to finish production but her physician, Dr. Leo Schulman, confined her to bed. So what do you suppose happened next? Director Harold Shaw took a film crew to the Hillview Apartments and shot her remaining scenes in her bedroom.
Sadly, Held to Answer is a lost film.
Source: Evelyn Brent by Lynn Kear with James King.
“It wouldn’t be honest of me to put either my husband or my career first in my life. I couldn’t give up either one and be happy. I don’t believe that a woman – if she has creative talent – should give up her career when she marries. Before she and her husband are married, they should decide this question and so avoid any arguments on the subject afterwards. But a career such a woman should and must have. It keeps her alive – awake – vital. As I told you, I have worked since I was fourteen and if that work were taken away from me now I would be miserable. Of course, I could adjust myself, as thousands of women have done before me, but I simply could not be happy. When one has worked very hard and has attained a certain public position, through what was often great hardship and difficulty, it is too much to ask that she be satisfied and happy in the narrow confines of home life. I suppose men will want to wring my nect for saying that, but women are becoming more and more free to develop their minds – and so their careers – than they ever have been before. Men don’t like it and fight it continually, but more and more we are overcoming the age-old prejudice that makes them want to sit us on a fine cushion to sew a fine seam, while they do the hustling to buy the strawberries and cream which they obtain, generously enough, shall be our diet. This is my belief, and I’m tired now. I’ve worked hard – hard – for months, and I feel weak and not well from my accident. One would naturally think that – feeling as I do today – I would want to crawl into a corner and pull the corner in after me, meanwhile, vigorously bemoaning the fact that work was ever invented for women! But the fact is that I’m ready to go back to the studio Monday and begin another picture. So it isn’t just excess vitality that makes me want to work – it’s something entirely different from that. It’s a sort of mental triumph and an expanding and developing of the soul.” — Evelyn Brent
“When I went into pictures, I wanted some day to be a star. Then I found out that starring and starring were two different things. If you are a star with money behind you – with heavy backing – that’s one thing. If you are a star with salary, but nothing else, that’s something else again. That was me.” — Evelyn Brent
Source: Malcolm H. Oettinger (1927)
“I have already played almost every kind of role you can imagine. I started out by doing ingenues, and I went on to do almost everything else, before I finally settled down to the habitual portrayal of lady crooks.” — Evelyn Brent
His Tiger Lady (1928). With Adolphe Menjou.
“I am not in the slightest degree domestic. I know less than nothing about running a house, ordering meals, or putting away laundry. I’m not even sure if there is any laundry.” – Evelyn Brent
Source: Evelyn Brent by Lynn Kear with James King.
“All I ask is to be left alone as I am going right now. I don’t want to star. Program stars get bad stories and all the blame.” — Evelyn Brent
“I must look crooked, because I always had to play underworld characters.” – Evelyn Brent
“I believe every player is usually dissatisfied with their work. Whether the tempo is too slow, or too fast. However, it is a very good idea not to be satisfied.” – Evelyn Brent
“She had an oriental sort of beauty. Her voice was husky, and she is direct almost to the point of abruptness. It is difficult to make her be serious about herself. Her eyes twinkle constantly, and her laugh is always threatening to well up and brim over. I fancy she has a few illusions about life or people or her job – or her own importance in the scheme of things.” — Helen Louise Walker
“I’d meet people…and they would always be surprised that I would be so small. They always figured I was tall because I wore four and a half-inch heels all the time. And the clothes had a tendency to have long lines, and that surprised them. A lot of people have said that they were surprised that I was always so quiet. I don’t know what they even expected.” — Evelyn Brent
“The star of a picture takes all the responsibility for its success or its failure. Pictures are good or bad according to the reaction the exhibitor gets in his box office. And if a picture in which Brent is starred doesn’t make money, the exhibitor writes that ‘Brent doesn’t make us any money.’ If I am fortunate in getting good stories, and have good supporting casts in all of them, being a star will be fine. But one poor story and one weak supporting cast, and Brent will find herself out in the street.” – Evelyn Brent, in December of 1929.
“I had the most marvelous dream the other night. I thought there was a great earthquake that shook down all of Hollywood except [my] house and destroyed everybody but me and I remember that I stood in the midst of the ruin and instead of being upset about it I was glorified. Shivers of delight ran up and down my spine. My whole being was enthralled by the tremendous aloneness.” — Evelyn Brent
Source: Katherine Albert (1931)