The Legendary Harlem Stage Diva, Actress And Vocalist, Irene Bentley,1870 – 1940

July 17, 2021

Irene Bentley, 1870 – June 3, 1940, was a Harlem stage actress and vocalist.


Bentley was born in 1870 in Baltimore, Maryland.

She appeared in Sally in Our Alley with Marie Cahill and also in The Belle of Bohemia, The Belle of New York, where she lived on 319 West 107th Street in Harlem, NY and It Happened in Nordland and The Belle of Mayfair.

In 1906 she married librettist Harry B. Smith. This was her second marriage.

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A niece of her husband Harry B. Smith used Bentley’s name to become a film actress. Hence there are two Irene Bentleys when perusing film or stage biographies.

The younger Irene Bentley was born in 1904 and died in 1965, and appeared in films such as My Weakness (1933), Smoky (1933), and Frontier Marshal (1934).

She is not the child of Irene Bentley and Harry B. Smith.


Irene Bentley died at Allenhurst, New Jersey, on June 3, 1940.

Photo credit: 1)Tinted picture of American actress Irene Bentley (1870 – 1940), from her article “Physical Culture an Essential in the Life of an Actress” on page 306 of the October 1908 Physical Culture magazine. 2) Irene Bentley, source.

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