Betty Bronson

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Betty Bronson
BornElizabeth Ada Bronson
(1906-11-17)November 17, 1906
Trenton, New Jersey
DiedOctober 19, 1971(1971-10-19) (aged 64)
Pasadena, California
Years active1922-1971
Spouse(s)Ludwig Lauerhass
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Betty Bronson
BornElizabeth Ada Bronson
(1906-11-17)November 17, 1906
Trenton, New Jersey
DiedOctober 19, 1971(1971-10-19) (aged 64)
Pasadena, California
Years active1922-1971
Spouse(s)Ludwig Lauerhass

Betty Bronson (November 17, 1906 – October 19, 1971) was an American television and film actress who began her career during the silent film era. She was a famous actress in silent and sound films.[1]

Film career[edit]

She was born Elizabeth Ada Bronson in Trenton, New Jersey to Frank and Nellie Smith Bronson. She began her film career at the age of sixteen with a bit part in the film Anna Ascends. At seventeen, after she had pleaded with every friend she had at Paramount Pictures, she finally got an interview with J. M. Barrie, author of Peter Pan. Barrie personally chose her to play the lead in a film of his work Peter Pan which would be released in 1924. This film role had been sought by both Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford, but Bronson won the role through her natural lightness and grace, probably refined through training with the Ballets Russes. Though she was with them for only a short time, perhaps a couple of weeks, it proved helpful in enhancing her portrayal of Peter Pan, especially in the flight sequences.

She starred with Mary Brian (Wendy Darling) and Esther Ralston (Mrs Darling), and the three of them became very close friends for the rest of their lives.

Bronson became an instant success in the year following the release of Peter Pan. She had a major role in the 1925 silent film adaptation of Ben-Hur. In 1926, she starred in another Barrie story A Kiss for Cinderella, an artfully-made film that failed at the boxoffice. She had moderate success for the rest of her career. She made a very successful transition into sound films. Her first sound film was in The Singing Fool (1928) with Al Jolson, and she also starred in the follow-up film Sonny Boy (1929) with Davey Lee. She was the leading lady opposite Jack Benny in the romantic drama The Medicine Man (1930).

Bronson continued film roles until 1933 when she married Ludwig Lauerhass, with whom she had one child, Ludwig Lauerhass, Jr. She did not appear in films again until Yodelin' Kid from Pine Ridge (1937), starring Gene Autry. She resumed acting in the 1960s appearing in episode television roles and feature films. Her last film role was an uncredited part in the television biopic Evel Knievel (1971).

Bronson, the Media and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr[edit]

Bronson was always rather reclusive with the press, but she did get some attention after being seen with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. He had his first childish crush on her, and as he remembered in his autobiography The Salad Days, he stated:

"Another important picture had just started. It was Peter Pan, directed by a clever caricature of a wildly temperamental movie director, Herbert Brenon. After exhaustive tests, Betty Bronson, a pretty and gifted girl in her middle teens, was given this famous role... I fell for Betty! It was my first intensely juvenile, deep-sighs-and-bad-sonnets love. It was not fully requited. She only flirted with me. My rival was a fellow in his twenties, a newspaperman who was to become one of New York's most respected theater critics, Richard Watts, Jr. ...In any event, I was so smitten with Betty, I could think of little else, except when I could call on her, even though her overprotective mother was always just in the next room."

In any case, it is known that Bronson kept all of his letters, bad sonnets and all, and she spoke of him fondly until her dying day.


On October 19, 1971, Bronson died after a protracted illness in Pasadena, California and was interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale.


1922Anna AscendsBit partUncredited
1923Java HeadJanet Ammidon
The Go-GetterBit partUncredited
His Children's ChildrenUncredited
The Eternal CityPageUncredited
1924Peter PanPeter Pan
1925Are Parents People?Lita Hazlitt
Not So Long AgoBetty Dover
The Golden PrincessBetty Kent
A Kiss for CinderellaCinderella (Jane)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the ChristMaryAlternative title: Ben-Hur
1926The Cat's PajamasSally Winton
Everybody's ActingDoris Poole
1927Paradise for TwoSally Lane
RitzyRitzy Brown
Open RangeLucy Blake
Brass KnucklesJune Curry(*Trailer only: Library of Congress)
1928Companionate MarriageSally WilliamsAlternative title: The Jazz Bride
The Singing FoolGrace
1929A Modern Sappho
The Bellamy TrialReporter
Sonny BoyAunt Winigred Canfield
One Stolen NightJeanne
The Locked DoorHelen Reagan
1930The Medicine ManMamie Goltz
1931Lover Come BackVivian March
1932The Midnight PatrolEllen Gray
1937Yodelin' Kid from Pine RidgeMilly BaynumAlternative title: The Hero from Pine Ridge
1961Pocketful of MiraclesMayor's wifeUncredited
1962Who's Got the Action?Mrs. BoatwrightUncredited
1964The Naked KissMiss JosephineAlternative title: The Iron Kiss
1968Blackbeard's GhostOld Lady
1960My Three SonsMrs. Butler1 episode
1964Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre1 episode
GrindlMrs. Cooper1 episode
1965Run for Your LifeAlma Sloan1 episode
1971Evel KnievelSorority House MotherTelevision movie


External links[edit]