As a child, she acted with her parents on the stage and in 1914 she signed with Hal Roach at Pathe. In the next few vears, she was the ingenue in many shorts, principally as the dewy-eyed girlfriend of Harold Lloyd. She then joined Cecil B. De Mille and was thrust into his gossip's world of would-be sexual sophistication: Male and Female (19) and the other woman in Why Change Your Wife? (20)—Gloria Swanson was the wife. It indicates public gullibility and De Mille s shortsighted prurience that a wholesome teenager could fill such roles. Although playing “Satan Synne” in The Affairs of Anatol (21, De Mille), Bebe Daniels was far more comfortable as a Paramount comedienne—light, girlish, and genuinelv vivacious: The Dancin' Fool (20, Sam Wood); Ducks and Drakes (21, Maurice Campbell); One Wild Week (21, Campbell); The Speed Girl (21, Campbell), a reference to Bebe’s brief spell in prison for reckless driving; Nancy from Nowhere (22, Chester M. Franklin); Nice People (22, William De Mille); The World's Applause (23, W. De Mille); The Glimpses of the Moon (23, Allan Dwan); Dating Youth (24, William Beaudine); with Valentino in Monsieur Beaucaire (24, Sidney Oleott); Dangerous Money (24, Frank Tuttle); Argentine Love (24. Dwan); Miss Bluebeard (25, Tuttle); The Manicure Girl (25, Tuttle); Wild, Wild Susan (25, Edward Sutherland); Lovers in Quarantine (25, Tuttle); The Palm Beach Girl (26, Erie Kenton); Stranded in Paris (26, Arthur Rossen); Feel My Pulse (28, Gregory La Cava); Take Me Home (28, Marshall Neilan); and What a Night! (28, Sutherland). She was at her best in a string of carefree comedies directed by Clarence Badger: Miss Brewster’s Millions (26); The Campus Flirt (26); A Kiss in a Taxi (27); Señorita (27); Swim, Girl, Swim (27); She’s a Sheik (27), in which Bebe, in Arab costume, abducts a European husband for herself; The Fifty-Fifty Girl (28); and Hot News (28).
When sound arrived, Paramount neglected her and she went eventuallv to RKO for a great personal success in Rio Rita (29, Luther Reed), in which she sang. She staved there for Love Comes Along (30, Rupert Julian) and Alias French Gertie (30, George Archainbaud). Her costar in that film was Ben Lyon, and in the same year they married. After Dixiana (30, Reed) and Lawful Larceny (30, Lowell Sherman), she went to United Artists for Reaching for the Moon (31, Edmund Goulding) and to Warners for My Past (31, Roy del Ruth). She remained there for a few years, but her reputation was declining: The Maltese Falcon (31, del Ruth); Silver Dollar (32, Alfred E. Green); the temperamental star in 42nd Street (33, Llovd Bacon) who loses the part to Ruby Keeler; and Registered Nurse (34, Robert Florey). She went to Columbia for Cocktail Hour (33, Victor Schertzinger), to Universal for Counsellor at Law (33, William Wyler); and then to Britain to make The Song You Gave Me (33, Paul L. Stein) and A Southern Maid (33, Harry Hughes)—two disasters.
She returned to America for Music Is Magic (35, George Marshall), and in 1936 she and Lvon went to London, first to plav at the Palladium, but eventually to settle. She made two awful pictures there—Not Wanted on Voyage (36. Emil E. Reinert) and The Return of Carol Deane (38, Arthur Woods)—but had an enormous wartime success, with Lyon and Vic Oliver, in the radio show Hi Gang! A film was made of the show in 1941, directed bv Marcel Varnel. After the war they went back to America and Bebe made The Fabulous Joe (48) for Hal Roach.
But they were soon back in London with their children, doing more radio shows, which led to the inevitable movie exploitation: Life with the Lyons (53, Val Guest) and The Lyons in Paris (55, Guest). She retired and spent her last ten years seriously ill.