Joyce Compton



American actress Joyce Compton was born into a traveling family; she received her schooling bit by bit in classrooms from Texas to Toronto. In the company of her parents, Compton made the Hollywood casting-office rounds in the mid-1920s, finally landing a role in What Fools Men (1925). In 1926 she was designated a Wampas Baby Star (a publicity ploy created by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers), in the company of such future luminaries as Mary Astor, Joan Crawford, Dolores Del Rio, Janet Gaynor and Fay Wray. Compton's career never quite reached the heights of these contemporaries; small and delicate, she was advised by her parents not to go out for large roles for fear of endangering her health. When talkies came in, she cornered the market in squeaky-voiced dumb blondes, often applying her natural Southern accent for full comic effect. She worked frequently in two-reel comedies with such funsters as Clark and McCullough, Walter Catlett and Charley Chase. Compton's feature appearances were confined to supporting roles as waitresses, good-time girls and ditzy Southern belles. Occasionally a big part would come her way, and she'd make the most of it; her best role of the 1930s was nightclub singer Dixie Belle Lee in The Awful Truth, whose striptease number "Gone with the Wind" is later hilariously imitated by the film's star, Irene Dunne. Among Compton's favorite films was Sky Murder (1939) an MGM "Nick Carter" mystery in which she played a deceptively dim-witted female private eye. She married once, very briefly, in 1956; she lived in her well-appointed California home with her parents until their deaths. Retiring from the screen in 1961, Compton worked from time to time as a private nurse, preferring to spend her spare hours painting and designing clothes.