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Actress Barbara Kent dies at 103

Was among last surviving silent-film stars

Silent-film star Barbara Kent, who appeared onscreen in “Flesh and the Devil” and other movies with the likes of Greta Garbo, Harold Lloyd and Gloria Swanson, died Thursday, Oct. 6, in Palm Desert, Calif. She was 103.

Kent’s first film was the 1926 Western “Prowlers of the Night.” Next, however, came the Garbo-John Gilbert starrer “Flesh and the Devil,” in which she played a woman besotted by Gilbert, whose character only had eyes for Garbo.

Kent got her start in the business after winning the Miss Hollywood pageant in 1925: Universal Studios offered the diminuitive beauty a contract despite her inexperience. She received acting lessons at the studio. Unlike many other performers, Kent was not particularly enthralled by the notion of a film career — but she was successful nonetheless.

Her appearance in 1927’s “No Man’s Law” caused something of a scandal, as Kent seemed to be nude (though she wasn’t) in a swimming scene. Among the actress’s other silents were “That’s My Daddy” and “Lonesome.”

Kent easily transitioned into talkies. She played Lloyd’s love interest in his first talking picture, 1929’s “Welcome Danger,” and reteamed with the comedian the next year in “Feet First.”

The actress actually made more talkies than silents — she appeared in 22 films from the 1930 crime drama “Night Ride,” which afforded an early gangster role for Edward G. Robinson, to her last bigscreen effort, Columbia’s “Guard That Girl,” in 1935.

In Leo McCarey’s 1931 effort “Indiscreet,” Kent played Swanson’s sister. She also had key feature roles in 1932’s “Vanity Fair” and “Oliver Twist” the following year.

Born in Gadsby, Alberta, Barbara Cloutman moved with her family to California when she was 13. She married Hollywood agent Harry Edington in 1932.

Second husband Jack Monroe died in 1998, and there are no immediate survivors.

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