Belle Bennett

Bennett was born in Milaca in 1891 and was a vaudeville, stage, and film
actress who has a star on the “Hollywood Walk of Fame.” Her mother and
grandparents are buried in Wendell Hill Cemetery in Bogus Brook Township.
She grew up in Milaca and attended Milaca Schools. During summers
Belle performed with her parents’ traveling tent show, “Billy Bennett’s Big
Shows,” which headquartered in Milaca. The Bennetts also held vaudeville
and drama performances across the Midwest in local theaters. By 1907
Belle was being billed as having a leading role in the Bennett dramas.
She later moved on and mixed legitimate stage productions from New York
to San Francisco and other cities with her movie career. In 1916 she made
16 two and three reel movies. Belle starred with many of the great actors of
the early silent movie era.

She was a strong business woman and publicly battled with legendary producer
Sam Goldwyn. Never-the-less, she auditioned with Goldwyn for the
lead role in the film “Stella Dallas” (1925) and won the role over 73 other
actresses. One critic said, Belle was nominated for best actress for the film
“The Way of All Flesh” (1928). She is considered one of the outstanding
leading ladies of the silent movie era.  If the Academy awards had been around
in 1925, she would have won.

 
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