Actress Eve Brent, best remembered for playing Jane twice opposite Gordon Scott’s Tarzan, died August 27 of “natural causes” at Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, Calif. She was either 81 or 82.
Initially billed as either Jean Lewis or Jean Ann Lewis, Eve Brent’s show business career in films and on television lasted nearly six decades. The Houston-born actress appeared in about three dozen movies, ranging from a small part in Bruno VeSota’s crime drama Female Jungle (1955), featuring Lawrence Tierney and Jayne Mansfield, to another small part more than half a century later in David Fincher’s Oscar nominated The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). [Note: This article has been revised. In an interview at Tarzan.cc, Brent was quoted as saying that she played Cate Blanchett’s grandmother in Benjamin Button; however, Grandma Fuller was actually played by Phyllis Somerville.]
Almost invariably in small supporting roles or bit parts, Brent could also be seen in the Jean Simmons vehicle The Happy Ending (1969), George Seaton’s all-star blockbuster Airport (1970), the Charles Bronson Western The White Buffalo (1976), Frank Darabont’s 1999 Best Picture Oscar nominee The Green Mile (“a lovely experience, and I very much enjoyed working for Frank Darabont”), and Minh Collins’ upcoming comedy Hit List. Brent also had a sizable role in Brad Leong’s low-budget dramatic comedy Palo Alto, CA (2007).
On television, Brent could be spotted in dozens of series, among them Dragnet, Little House on the Prairie, Ellen, Frasier, and JAG.
Samuel Fuller was credited for changing Jean (Ann) Lewis into Eve Brent when the actress worked with him in the 1957 Western Forty Guns, starring Barbara Stanwyck. The new artistic name was reportedly an homage to silent film actress Evelyn Brent.
Eve Brent’s two Tarzan movies, both 1958 releases, were Tarzan and the Trappers and Tarzan’s Fight for Life. In a March 2007 interview, she reminisced about Gordon Scott, who would die in April of that year:
“He’s a wonderful man. He was a good actor, we worked well together, we had a great rapport. And through the years, we have maintained our friendship. We haven’t really seen much of each other, but whenever there’s any kind of get-together and we’re both there, we still try to see each other. And I’m very proud to have worked with Gordon. It was a real honor, and such a wonderful time to look back on.”
Eve Brent’s quotes via Tarzan.cc.