as Edna Hopper in Fury (1936)
|Born||November 17, 1892|
Newark, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||January 5, 1965 (aged 72)|
New York City, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Francis Keough (1934–1945) (his death)|
Leila Bennett (November 17, 1892 – January 5, 1965) was an American film actress who primarily appeared in supporting roles as either slapstick sidekicks, mousy maids, and scatterbrains. Despite the last name likeness she was in no way related to actresses Constance Bennett, Joan Bennett, and Barbara Bennett.
She was born in Newark, New Jersey, into a working-class family; her father worked as a newspaper editor and her mother was a part-time stenographer and housewife. The whole family was affiliated with the church of Christian Science.
After working through the Harry Blaney Stock Company in Brooklyn, New York, she began her career on the New York stage in 1919 portraying the character of 'Mandy Coulter' in the comedy production Thunder. She was praised for her role, which was performed in black-face, by the New-York Tribune.
She also was featured in the plays The First Year (1920–22), The Wheel (1921), Chicken Feed (1923–24), A Holy Terror (1925), It's a Wise Child (1929–30), and, in what was her final stage appearance, Company's Coming (1931). Following her departure from live theatre in 1931, she continued her craft on the screen making her film debut in an uncredited role in Gentleman's Fate playing a lunch counter attendant. Her next role came in the film Emma (1932) playing a maid opposite the likes of Marie Dressler and Myrna Loy followed by a role in Taxi! (1932) opposite James Cagney and Loretta Young. In 1932 alone she appeared in six films; others being The Purchase Price with Barbara Stanwyck, Tiger Shark, and Doctor X with Lee Tracy and Fay Wray. In 1933, she appeared as Anna May Wong's ladies maid in A Study in Scarlet. She was very much a freelancer and floated around Hollywood doing numerous films at such studios as Warner Bros., RKO Radio Pictures, Columbia Pictures, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. In Mark of the Vampire (1935), she played a "terrified maid." In 1936 she appeared as Edna Hopper in Fury opposite Spencer Tracy and Sylvia Sidney, providing "splendid support," according to the Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune.
Personal life and death
She was married to Francis M. Keough from 1934 until his death in 1945; Keough had been the main manager of Palm Beach's Beach Club Restaurant and Casino, and she spent her years dividing time between New York City and Florida. On January 5, 1965, she died at the age of 72 in New York City, New York. Her funeral was held at The Universal Chapel on 52nd and Lexington Avenue in New York and her interment was at Fairmount Cemetery in Newark, New Jersey with her parents in the family plot (specifically Section F, Lot 157, Grave 3 rear).
- Gentlemans Fate (1931)
- Emma (1932)
- Taxi! (1932) - Ruby.
- The Purchase Price (1932)
- The First Year (1932)
- Doctor X (1932)
- Tiger Shark (1932)
- No Other Woman (1933)
- Terror Abroad (1933)
- A Study in Scarlet (1933)
- Sunset Pass (1933)
- The Prizefighter and the Lady (1933)
- Easy to Love (1934)
- Once to Every Woman (1934)
- Unknown Blonde (1934)
- Strictly Dynamite (1934)
- Housewife (1934)
- Dames (1934)
- Wagon Wheels (1934)
- One New York Night (1935)
- Mark of the Vampire (1935) - Maria
- Fury (1936)
- Wilson, Scott (2016-09-16). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 56. ISBN 9781476625997.
- "Who's Who On the Stage". The New York Times. 1919-09-28. p. 43. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "'The First Year Equals "Lightnin'" In Dramatic Value". New-York Tribune. 1920-10-21. p. 8. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- IBDb entry for Leila Bennett
- "Plays Terrified Maid". The News Journal. 1935-05-02. p. 26. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "'Fury' Coming June 21". The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune. 1936-06-13. p. 8. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- W, W.J. (1932-02-19). "'Taxi' At the Strand". The Ithaca Journal. p. 7. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Warwick". Daily Press. 1935. p. 3. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "'The Lemon Drop Kid' Allyn Film". Hartford Courant. 1934-10-13. p. 5. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Coming to Lincoln". The Evening Independent. 1935-07-18. p. 11. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- Gloss, Edward E. (1935-05-08). "Sally Rand Dances, Bela Lugosi Leers As Shows Take Bows". The Akron Beacon Journal. p. 8. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.
- "'Fury' Is Lincoln Epic Picture, and Shirley Temple Does a Fine Job, Stuart; 'Counterfeit,' Varsity". The Nebraska State Journal. 1936-07-19. p. 22. Retrieved 2017-11-28 – via Newspapers.com.