Vernon Dent

Active - 1916 - 1963  |   Born - Feb 16, 1895   |   Died - Nov 5, 1963   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Actor Vernon Dent launched his career in stock companies and as one-third of a singing cabaret trio. Silent comedian Hank Mann, impressed by Dent's girth (250 pounds) and comic know-how, helped Vernon enter films in 1919. Dent starred in a 2-reel series at the Pacific Film Company, then settled in at Mack Sennett studios as a supporting player, generally cast as a heavy. During his Sennett years, Dent was most often teamed with pasty-faced comedian Harry Langdon, who became his lifelong friend and co-worker. Remaining with Sennett until the producer closed down his studio in 1933, Dent moved to Educational Pictures, where he was afforded equal billing with Harry Langdon; and when Langdon moved to Columbia Pictures in 1934, Dent followed, remaining a mainstay of the Columbia 2-reel stock company until 1953. Here he was featured with such comic luminaries as Andy Clyde, Buster Keaton, Hugh Herbert, Vera Vague, and especially the Three Stooges. Among Dent's dozens of talkie feature-film credits were W.C. Fields' Million Dollar Legs (1932) and You're Telling Me (1934); in one of his rare feature starring roles, Dent played a boisterous, wife-beating sailor in the 1932 "B" Dragnet Patrol. Well-connected politically in the Los Angeles area, Dent supplemented his acting income by running the concession stand at Westlake Park. Vernon Dent retired in the mid-1950s, due to total blindness brought about by diabetes; the ever-upbeat actor was so well-adjusted to his handicap that many of Dent's close friends were unaware that he was blind.

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