Betty Blythe

Betty Blythe

Betty Blythe in Stars of the Photoplay
Born Elizabeth Blythe Slaughter
(1893-09-01)September 1, 1893
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died April 7, 1972(1972-04-07) (aged 78)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 19161964
Spouse(s) Paul Scardon (19191954) (his death)

Betty Blythe (September 1, 1893 April 7, 1972) was an American actress best known for her dramatic roles in exotic silent films such as The Queen of Sheba (1921). She appeared in 63 silent films and 56 talking pictures (known as talkies) over the course of her career.[1]

She is famous for being one of the first actresses to appear on film in the nude, or nearly so, during the Roaring Twenties.

She is reported to have said, "A director is the only man besides your husband who can tell you how much of your clothes to take off."[2]


Born Elizabeth Blythe Slaughter, she began her stage work in such theatrical pieces as So Long Letty and The Peacock Princess.[3] She worked in vaudeville as the "California Nightingale" singing songs such as "Love Tales from Hoffman".[4]

After touring Europe and the States, she entered films in 1918 at the Vitagraph Studios in Brooklyn, then she was brought to Hollywood's Fox studio as a replacement for actress Theda Bara.

As famous for her revealing costumes as for her dramatic skills, she became a star in such exotic films as The Queen of Sheba (1921) (in which she wore nothing above the waist except a string of beads), Chu-Chin-Chow (made in 1923; released by MGM in the US 1925) and She (1925).

She was also seen to good advantage in less revealing films like Nomads of the North (1920) with Lon Chaney and In Hollywood with Potash and Perlmutter (1924), produced by Samuel Goldwyn.

Other roles were as an opera star, unbilled in Garbo's The Mysterious Lady. She continued to work as a character actress. One of her last roles was a small uncredited role in a crowd scene in 1964's My Fair Lady.

Betty Blythe's name lives on through the Betty Blythe Vintage TeaRoom in West Kensington.

Personal life

Blythe was married to the movie director Paul Scardon from 1919 until his death in 1954. She reportedly made $3,500,000 when she sold a section of land that is now part of the Sunset Strip.[5] She lost her fortune in the 1929 stock market crash.[6] In May 1967, her forthcoming marriage to former film executive Manuel de Encio was announced.


Betty Blythe died of a heart attack in Woodland Hills, California in 1972, aged 78. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.


For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Betty Blythe has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame[7] located at 1706 Vine Street.[8]

Selected filmography

Betty Blythe as Queen of Sheba.
Betty Blythe as Queen of Sheba on a 1922 postcard.
Betty Blythe illustrated on the cover of the September 1921 issue of Photoplay by Rolf Armstrong.
Betty Blythe in Shadowland, December 1919.
Year Film Role Notes
1917 His Own People Lady Mary Thorne
1918 Hoarded Assets Claire Dawson
1919 Dust of Desire Corrinne Torrence
1919 The Undercurrent Mariska
1920 Nomads of the North Nanette Roland
1921 Mother o' Mine Fan Baxter
1922 How Women Love Rosa Roma
1923 Chu-Chin-Chow Zahrat
1924 Southern Love Dolores
The Spitfire Jean Bronson
The Recoil Norma Selbee
The Folly of Vanity Mrs. Ridgeway
1925 Speed Mary Whipple
She Ayesha
1927 Snowbound Julia Barry
Eager Lips Paula
The Girl from Gay Paree Mademoiselle Fanchon
1928 Glorious Betsy Princess Fredericka
1931 Adventure
1932 Tom Brown of Culver Dolores Delight
1933 Pilgrimage Janet Prescot
Only Yesterday Mrs. Vincent Uncredited
1934 Night Alarm Elizabeth Van Dusen
1935 Anna Karenina Woman Uncredited
1936 Yours for the Asking May Uncredited
The Gorgeous Hussy Mrs. Wainwright
1937 Topper Mrs. Goodrich Uncredited
Conquest Princess Mirska Uncredited
Alternative title: Marie Walewska
1938 Romance of the Limberlost Mrs. Parker
1939 The Women Mrs. South Uncredited
1940 Misbehaving Husbands Effie Butler
1941 Honky Tonk Mrs. Wilson
1942 Dawn on the Great Divide Mrs. Elmira Corkle
1943 Presenting Lily Mars Dowanger Uncredited
1944 Charlie Chan in The Chinese Cat Mrs. Manning Alternative title: The Chinese Cat
A Fig Leaf for Eve Lavinia Sardham Alternative titles: Desirable Lady, Flaming Girls, Hollywood Nights, Not Enough Clothes. Reckless Youth, Room for Love, Strips and Blondes
1945 Her Highness and the Bellboy Diplomat's Wife Uncredited
They Were Expendable Officer's Wife Uncredited
Adventure Mrs. Buckley Uncredited
1946 The Kid from Brooklyn Mrs. LeMoyne's friend Uncredited
The Postman Always Rings Twice Customer Uncredited
Undercurrent Saleslady Uncredited
1947 The Secret Life of Walter Mitty Floor Manager Uncredited
Song of Love Lady with Opera Glasses Uncredited
Cass Timberlane Nurse Uncredited
Jiggs and Maggie in Society Mrs. Vacuum
1948 Letter from an Unknown Woman Frau Kohner Uncredited
1949 The Barkleys of Broadway Guest in Theater Lobby Uncredited
Jiggs and Maggie in Jackpot Jitters Mrs. Van Belden
1950 Jiggs and Maggie Out West Society Woman Uncredited
1951 Hollywood Story Betty Blythe - Old-time Movie Star
1955 The Lonesome Trail Mrs. Wells Uncredited
1956 Lust for Life Dowanger Uncredited
1957 The Helen Morgan Story Party Guest Uncredited
1964 My Fair Lady Lady at Ball Uncredited
Year Title Role Notes
1952 Racket Squad Mrs. Burton 1 episode
1958 The Lineup Mrs. DeSues 1 episode


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