Reference Entry

Compson, Betty

William Stephenson

in American National Biography Online

Published in print January 1999 |
Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697 | DOI:

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Compson, Betty (18 March 1897–18 April 1974), film actress, was born Eleanor Luicime Compson in a log cabin in a Beaver City, Utah, mining camp, the daughter of Virgil K. Compson and Mary Elizabeth Rauscher. Her father was a mining engineer, then a failed gold prospector in Alaska, and finally the proprietor of a corner grocery store in Salt Lake City. Her mother worked as a domestic and a hotel maid. Compson grew up on the edge of poverty, though her parents were able to provide violin lessons for her. After her father’s death in 1912, she played violin in the pit orchestra of a vaudeville and movie theater while attending high school. When one of the vaudeville acts went missing, Compson filled in, hurriedly costumed as a street violinist....

Reference Entry.  1389 words. 

Subjects: Film

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