Richard Bennett


From Wikipedia Richard Bennett (May 21, 1870 – October 22, 1944) was an American actor who became a stage and silent screen matinee idol over the early decades of the twentieth century. He was born in Deacon's Mills, Indiana in 1870 (some sources state 1872), the son of George Washington Bennett and Eliza Huffman. His younger sister was Ina Blanche Bennett. For a time, he was a sailor on Great Lakes steamer, a professional boxer, medicine showman, troubadour and night clerk in a hotel in Chicago. His silent movie debut was a reprisal of his stage role in Damaged Goods (1914), which co-starred his wife, Adrienne Morrison. He helped adapt the screenplay and direct the drama. In the drama The Valley of Decision (1916), which he wrote, Bennett appeared on the screen with his wife, Morrison, and his three daughters. In 1922, Bennett starred in Broadway's English-language version of Leonid Andreyev's melodrama He Who Gets Slapped, playing the title role as He. The success of the play led to its being filmed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, with the production starring Lon Chaney in Bennett's role. With the advent of the talkies the middleaged actor found a niche as a character actor. In 1931 he appeared with Constance Bennett in Bought! On November 8, 1903, Bennett and actress Adrienne Morrison were married in Jersey City. They had three daughters, Constance Bennett (1904–1965); Barbara Bennett (1906–1958); and Joan Bennett (1910–1990). He and Morrison were divorced in April 1925. Their first and third daughters, Constance and Joan, became successful movie stars. Their second daughter, Barbara, was also briefly an actress, but with less success. The two appeared together on stage in the 1923 play The Dancers Barbara married the popular singer Morton Downey. The controversial television talk-show host Morton Downey, Jr., was Richard Bennett's grandson. In 1925, he became acquainted with Aimee Raisch in San Francisco, during the production of Creoles, in which she played a minor role. She was a young socialite and aspiring actress who was divorcing her millionaire clubman and polo player husband, Harry G. Hastings. Bennett and Raisch were married July 11, 1927, in Chicago. He and Aimee, who later went by Angela, separated April 3, 1934, and were divorced in 1937. His daughter Joan made her stage debut acting with him in Jarnegan (1928). This play, in which he played Jack Jarnegan, provided one of his favourite roles—that of a belligerent, drunken movie director given to acidulous and profane comments on Hollywood. Richard Bennett died at age 74 from a heart attack at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. Episcopal funeral services were conducted on October 24, 1944, in Beverly Hills. He is interred in Pleasant View Cemetery, Lyme, Connecticut, beside his second wife and mother of his daughters. Bennett was fond of saying that the movie industry was not a business, but a madhouse.