Betty Compson was the daughter of a mining engineer and began early on a career in theater and vaudeville, where she had success as The Vagabond Violinist. Her film career started in 1915 and she played many roles before they sen in 1919 with The Miracle Man alongside Lon Chaney. Became a star. The best part was the actress in 1928 alongside George Bancroft in Josef von Sternberg's masterpiece of light and shadow The Docks of New York. In the same year she appeared again alongside Chaney in The Big City.
The sound film helped her to a career boost, and for her appearance in the film The Barker of George Fitzmaurice, she was nominated for Best Actress. Under the direction of her then husband, James Cruze, she played alongside Erich von Stroheim starred in The Great Gabbo. After the attempt had failed, received at RKO on a permanent deal, the actress turned up mid-decade, increasing B-movies. As early as 1936, she starred in the movie Hollywood Boulevard, a Paramountfilm with more than one parallel to Sunset Boulevard, a long-forgotten silent film star. After 1948, she pulled back completely from the film business and operated with her second husband, a company named Ashtrays Unlimited.