Born as Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta, to Jullion Curtis and Lily Louise (née Kent) Cloutman, Barbara Kent won the 21-year-old Miss Hollywood Pageant in 1925, the same year she graduated from Hollywood High School. Barbara Kent began her Hollywood career in 1925, aged 18, in a small role for Universal Studios, which signed her to a contract that year. A brunette who stood less than five feet tall, Kent became popular as a comedienne opposite such stars as Reginald Denny. She made a strong impression as the heroine pitted against Greta Garbo’s femme fatale in Flesh and the Devil in 1926 after Universal had loaned Kent to MGM to make the film. She attracted attention in the 1927 film No Man’s Law by appearing to swim nude. She wore a flesh-coloured moleskin bathing suit in scenes that were considered very daring at the time. The popularity of this film led to her selection as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars for 1927. She made a smooth transition into talking pictures opposite Harold Lloyd in the comedy Welcome Danger (1929). Kent was also featured with Lloyd in his iconic Feet First. Over the next few years, she remained popular and received critical praise for her role in the 1933 film version of Oliver Twist.
Barbara Kent married talent agent Harry Edington in Yuma, Arizona on her 25th birthday, December 16, 1932. During a one-year hiatus, Edington groomed Kent for what he intended to be a high-profile career. By the time she returned to films, however, her popularity had waned and she was unable to establish herself again. She made her last appearance on screen with Columbia’s Under Age in 1941. This last screen credit is attributed to Barbara on IMDb but it and two other credits, Blondie Meets the Boss and The Fleet’s In belong to another younger actress called Barbara Kent, born in England in 1921. Following the death of her husband in 1949, Barbara Kent retreated from public life. She married Jack Monroe, an engineer, in 1954. They lived in Sun Valley, Idaho, later settling in Palm Desert, California. Monroe died in 1998.
- December, 16, 1907
- Gadsby, Alberta
- October, 13, 2011
- Palm Desert, California