George Brent

George Brent (March 15 1899 - May 26 1979) was an Irish film and television actor in American cinema.

Early life

He was born George Brendan Nolan in Raharabeg, County Roscommon on the opposite bank of the River Shannon from the town of Shannonbridge, County Offaly, Ireland, 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 with a bounty set on his head by the British, although he claimed only to have been a courier for guerrilla leader and tactician Michael Collins.


He eventually moved to Hollywood where he made his first film in 1930. Signed to a contract with Warner Brothers, Brent carved out a successful career as a top-flight leading man of the late 1930s and 40s. Highly regarded by Bette Davis, he became her most frequent male co-star, appearing with her in thirteen films, including Front Page Woman (1935), Special Agent (1935), The Golden Arrow (1936), Jezebel (1938), The Old Maid (1939), Dark Victory (1939) and The Great Lie (1941). Brent also played opposite Greta Garbo in The Painted Veil (1934), Madeleine Carroll in The Case Against Mrs. Ames (1936), Jean Arthur in More Than a Secretary (1936), Myrna Loy in The Rains Came (1939), Merle Oberon in 'Til We Meet Again (1940), Ann Sheridan in Honeymoon For Three (1941), Joan Fontaine in The Affairs of Susan (1945), Barbara Stanwyck in The Purchase Price (1932), The Gay Sisters (1942) and My Reputation (1946), Claudette Colbert in Tomorrow Is Forever (1946), Dorothy McGuire in The Spiral Staircase (1946), Lucille Ball in Lover Come Back (1946) and Yvonne De Carlo in Slave Girl (1947).

Brent drifted into "B" pictures from the late 1940s and retired from film in 1953. He continued to appear on television until 1960, starring in the series Wire Service in 1956. In 1978, he made one last film, the made-for-television production Born Again.

George Brent earned two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first, at 1709 Vine St., for his film contributions, the second star, at 1614 Vine St., for his work in television.

Personal life

Brent, known as a womanizer in Hollywood, reputedly carried on a lengthy relationship with his co-star Bette Davis. He was married four times, three times to actresses: Ruth Chatterton (1932-1934), Constance Worth (1937) and Ann Sheridan (1942-1943). Chatterton and Sheridan were both fellow Warner Brothers players. His final marriage to Janet Michaels, a former model and dress designer, lasted twenty-seven years until her death in 1974. They had two children together, a son and a daughter.

Bette Davis described in her final years her last meeting with Brent after many years of estrangement. Brent was suffering from emphysema and Davis later expressed great remorse at his ill health and sadness that such a virile and attractive man could have deteriorated so dramatically. Brent died shortly afterward in 1979 in Solana Beach, California at the age of 80 from emphysema.

She also described that Brent was totally gray by the time he started working for Warner Brothers, and he had to dye his hair black.



Short subjects:

  • A Dream Comes True (1935)
  • Swingtime in the Movies (1938)

External links

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