Brent Sargent (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

After he had been playing in the same show in Los Angeles for three and one-half years, Brent Sargent was finally discovered by a talent scout. The show was “The Drunkard,” and the night Brent was spotted, he was ad-libbing during his first night in the leading role, after having played every other male part in the long engagement.

The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer scout arranged for a screen test. It was successful and Brent was placed under contract. It was a case of a local boy making good, because Brent was born in Los Angeles, April 21, the son of Irma and Perry Brown.

Brent attended grade schools in Los Angeles and then with his parents, moved to Phoenix, Arizona, where his father had purchased a large chicken ranch. After attending Phoenix high school for nearly two years, he returned to California and completed his education at Los Angeles high school.

Singing Ambitions

When still in school, his ambition was to be a great singer. To pay for private instruction in voice, he got a job as usher in a downtown theatre. And in the few spare moments he had, when not going to school or working otherwise, he was a model for commercial artists and photographers.

As his voice improved with instruction he began to get other jobs, making electrical transcriptions for broadcasting and taking part in radio programs as singer and actor. Encouraged by this success, he decided to try stage work. He went to San Francisco where he had heard a stock company was going to present a revival of “The Merry Widow.”

Although suffering from a cold at the tryout, Brent convinced the company manager he could sing and was given a job in the chorus. The show lasted only a month but Brent obtained valuable experience.

Returned to Radio

The brief stage work convinced him of one thing — he would have to broaden his talents. So he returned to radio work to earn money for further voice instruction and for lessons in all kinds of dancing to prepare for a variety of roles.

While taking lessons in dancing (ballet, tap and acrobatic) he decided to try for a role in “The Drunkard,” which was about to begin its long run. He got not only one job, but two — one as stage hand and the other a small part in the show in which he spoke a few lines.

But Brent was glad to be with a stage company again. He advanced gradually, at one time or another playing every male role in the show.

Gets Big Chance

One night the leading man was unable to appear because of sudden illness. Brent was rushed into the part. Excited and enthusiastic about the opportunity, he decided to celebrate and put in a few lines he thought would improve the role. The audience howled and he felt better than ever.

Then after the show, the talent scout came around to his dressing room and offered Brent more opportunity. He considers that night the most thrilling he ever experienced.

A loyal home-town boy, he likes best the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra, especially playing selections from “Die Valkyrie.”

In art, his tastes range from a classical appreciation of Rembrandt, to amusement at the illustrations of John Held, Jr., and a high regard for Renoir.

His first picture for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer was “My Dear Miss Aldrich.”

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937