Evelyn Brent made her name playing a bad girl in early Hollywood thrillers.
Born Mary Elizabeth Riggs in Tampa, Fla., and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., “Betty” broke into movies in England and changed her name to Evelyn Brent after starring in a play, “The Ruined Lady.”
When she returned to America after five years, she was at first classed as a British actress. She got her American break in the 1927 “Underworld” opposite George Bancroft.
Explaining her preference for thrillers, Brent told the Times in 1925, “These drawing-room pictures in which you have to play the part of an animated clothes-horse give me a pain. They give you no chance whatever to develop individuality or character.”