Judith Barrett

Judith Barrett (born Lucille Kelley,[1] February 2, 1909 – March 10, 2000), also known as Nancy Dover,[2] was an American film actress of the late 1920s and through the 1930s, up until 1940.

Judith Barrett
Lucille Kelley

(1909-02-02)February 2, 1909
DiedMarch 10, 2000(2000-03-10) (aged 91)
Other namesNancy Dover
Years active1928–1940
Cliff Edwards
(m. 1932; div. 1936)

Lindsay C. Howard
(m. 1940; div. 1952)

Early life

Born and raised in Venus, Texas, Barrett was one of three children of cattle rancher Sam Kelley,[3] whom she later claimed to be a "dirt" farmer who died of a broken heart. Barrett made several appearances at The Palace Theatre, Dallas while still at school. She did modeling at a department store for ladies tea/fashion shows.


At sixteen, she got on a train to Hollywood. Her first big chance came when she started in a lavish commercial film in 1928, The Sock Exchange opposite Bobby Vernon. In 1929 she starred in five films, and made a successful transition to "talking films". From 1928 to 1933 she was billed as "Nancy Dover", and from 1930 to 1933 she appeared in nine films, all credited.

In 1933, she appeared in only one film, Marriage Humor opposite Harry Langdon and Vernon Dent, while doing stage work. She would not have another role until 1936, when she starred in the crime drama Yellowstone opposite Henry Hunter, and alongside Ralph Morgan and Alan Hale. It was the first film that she was billed as "Judith Barrett". She appeared in two films that year, and five in 1937, one of which was her first uncredited role.

From 1938 to 1940, Barrett appeared in ten films, all credited, including Road to Singapore, the first "road" picture by the team of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. Barrett retired from film acting following her appearance in the 1940 comedy Those Were the Days!, starring William Holden and Bonita Granville.


Noted for her beauty, the October 16, 1939 edition of the Baltimore Sun said of her: "Judith Barrett, pretty and blonde actress, is the first Telegenic Girl to go on record. In other words, she is the perfect type of beauty for television. ... She is slated for the first television motion picture."[4] The Salt Lake Tribune noted that Barrett was "selected after months of exhaustive tests by television experts, sound engineers, photographers and make-up specialists."[5] Paramount Pictures followed up on the selection by featuring her in its film, Television Spy (1939).[5]

Personal life

In March 1940, Barrett married Lindsay C. Howard in Yuma, Arizona.[1] They divorced on April 8, 1952.[6] She had earlier been married to actor Cliff Edwards.[1]

She eventually settled in Palm Desert, California, where she was residing at the time of her death at age 91 on March 10, 2000.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
1928 The Sock Exchange June Credited as Nancy Dover
1929 Happy Heels Credited as Nancy Dover
1929 Scandal Janet Credited as Nancy Dover
1929 Skirt Shy Nancy, the maid Credited as Nancy Dover
1929 Dynamite Good Mixer Uncredited, Credited as Nancy Dover
1929 Romance De Luxe Credited as Nancy Dover
1930 The Head Guy Nancy Credited as Nancy Dover
1930 Oh Darling Credited as Nancy Dover
1930 The Fighting Parson The Brunette Dance Hall Girl Credited as Nancy Dover
1930 The Big Kick Harry's Girl Credited as Nancy Dover
1930 The Thoroughbred Colleen Riley Credited as Nancy Dover
1931 Cimarron Donna Cravat Credited as Nancy Dover
1931 Big Business Girl Sarah Ellen Credited as Nancy Dover
1931 Hollywood Halfbacks Kay Credited as Nancy Dover
1933 Marriage Humor Credited as Nancy Dover
1936 Yellowstone Ruth Foster
1936 Flying Hostess Helen Brooks
1937 The Good Old Soak Ina Heath
1937 Let Them Live Rita Johnson
1937 Armored Car Ella Logan
1937 Vogues of 1938 Model Uncredited
1937 Behind the Mike Jane Arledge
1938 Illegal Traffic Marie Arden
1939 Persons in Hiding Blase Blonde
1939 I'm from Missouri Lola Pike
1939 The Gracie Allen Murder Case Dixie Del Marr
1939 Television Spy Gwen Lawson
1939 Disputed Passage Winifred Bane
1939 The Great Victor Herbert Marie Clark
1940 Road to Singapore Gloria Wycott
1940 Women Without Names Peggy Athens
1940 Those Were the Days! Mirabel Allstairs (final film role)


  1. "Judith Barrett Weds". The Brownsville Herald. Texas, Brownsville. Associated Press. March 23, 1940. p. 2. Retrieved July 12, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  2. Reid, John (2004). Award-Winning Films of the 1930s. Lulu.com. p. 46. ISBN 9781411614321. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  3. "'Venus Venus' Weds Wealthy Stable Owner". Santa Cruz Sentinel. California, Santa Cruz. Associated Press. March 23, 1940. p. 2. Retrieved July 12, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  4. Telegenic | Define Telegenic at Dictionary.com
  5. "Film Actress Chosen First Telegenic Girl". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. August 19, 1939. p. 11. Retrieved July 12, 2017 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "Divorces". Billboard. April 19, 1952. p. 52. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
  7. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 44. ISBN 9781476625997. Retrieved 13 July 2017.
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