She first got into acting by appearing on stage in various shows. While part of these troupes she was able to tour not only the US, but also Europe. She eventually ended up in New York, when one day she and a roommate of hers went to visit the Vitagraph Studios. It just so happened that a director on set that day needed a leading lady for his film, and he signed Betty right up! She wasn't there long before she was sent packing back to California to work for Fox Studios.
Fox Studios was interested in Betty because they wanted a "new" Theda Bara. So, of course to compete with the big girl vamps, Betty had to go without a few items of clothing. She was also one of the first actresses to appear nude onscreen (the first is considered to be Nell Shipman).
That was her biggest hit during her career, and the only way to go from the top was to the bottom unfortunately.
She was allowed to appear in a few films that didn't require her to show so much skin. In fact, she got to appear with the master himself, Lon Chaney in the 1920 film, Nomads of the North. Interesting production note, while filming a scene involving a forest fire, Lon and Betty were both burned by a fire that popped up in one of their escape paths. They managed to make it to safety by running through a tunnel that had been built for such an emergency but production had to be stopped for almost two weeks while the actors recovered.
Betty continued to appear in films in lesser and lesser roles until she was appearing in uncredited roles. Her last film appearance was in My Fair Lady in a crowd scene.
She was buried at Forest Lawn in Glendale, California.
Betty was only married once, to movie director Paul Scardon in 1919. They remained married until his death in 1954. They did not have any children.
Betty almost did remarry in 1967. She announced that she was going to marry Manuel de Encio, who worked for the Warner Brothers Studio. I am not sure what happened between them, but they never made it down the aisle.
She was earning $1 million during the peak of her career.
During her later years, Betty made quite the comment on the actresses of the day. "It's too bad that they are dog-faced. They have pug noses and square faces, just like dogs. They may be good actors and have rugged qualities, but I always look for beauty in actors. I think they should be pleasant to look at, the way they were in the silent days. We had them ten. Men like Ramon Novarro, whom I discovered for films. And Ronald Colman, who was an extra in one of my pictures." I guess she wasn't one to hold her tongue! And I have never heard anything about the "discovering" of Ramon by Betty, but hey...who knows.
"I had 28 costumes in [Queen of Sheba], and if I'd worn them all at once I couldn't have kept warm." ~~ Betty Blythe