Archive for June, 2014

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June 26, 2014

Rita Walter (1885?-1906), German actress/soprano
(photo: unknown, probably Germany, circa 1903)

‘PRIMA DONNA SHOT.
‘MURDERED BY DISCARDED LOVER
‘ASSASSIN’S SUICIDE.
‘From Berlin on the night of 5th October [1906] the corresponded of the Daily Mail [published in London] wrote:-
‘A few hours before she would have fallen upon the stage of the Opera Comique as Carmen, stabbed to death with the dagger of the jealous Don Jose, the young and beautiful prima donna Fraulein Rita Walter was last night murdered at her home by her discarded lover. Karl August Hesse, who then turned his weapon against himself and fell shot through the heart.
‘Hesse had waited all the afternoon at Fraulein Walter’s house, expecting to surprise her in the company of his rival, Senor Juan Raventos, a young Spanish tenor at the Opera Comique, for whom the prima donna had latterly shown a fondness, and to whom Hesse suspected that she was about to become engaged.
‘Only the fact that the Spaniard was lying in hospital saved his life, as letter left by Hesse indicate that he intended to kill him. Fraulein Walter’s mother was sitting in the adjoining room when her daughter was shot.
‘The singer was only twenty-one years of age, and of remarkable beauty and promising voice. She was the daughter of a well-to-do manufacturer, who died a few years ago. Hesse’s ambition was to be an operatic star himself, but he did not possess the required talent, and this made him exceedingly jealous of his fiancee’s success, as well as of her smiles upon other men. He had several times struck her in the midst of jealous fits.
‘Fraulein Walter attempted repeatedly to induce him to leave her and go his own way, but Hesse claimed to be madly in love with her and refused to be repulsed. The police found in his apartments to-day letters from his Spanish rival wherein the latter had rejected Hesse’s demand that he should break off his relationship with the prima donna. The murderer’s parent are wealthy residents of Hamburg.’
(The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser, Grenvell, NSW, Australia, Saturday, 22 December 1906, p. 7g)

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Rita Walter murdered by jealous lover, Berlin, 1906

June 26, 2014

Rita Walter (1885?-1906), German actress/soprano
(photo: unknown, probably Germany, circa 1903)

‘PRIMA DONNA SHOT.
‘MURDERED BY DISCARDED LOVER
‘ASSASSIN’S SUICIDE.
‘From Berlin on the night of 5th October [1906] the corresponded of the Daily Mail [published in London] wrote:-
‘A few hours before she would have fallen upon the stage of the Opera Comique as Carmen, stabbed to death with the dagger of the jealous Don Jose, the young and beautiful prima donna Fraulein Rita Walter was last night murdered at her home by her discarded lover. Karl August Hesse, who then turned his weapon against himself and fell shot through the heart.
‘Hesse had waited all the afternoon at Fraulein Walter’s house, expecting to surprise her in the company of his rival, Senor Juan Raventos, a young Spanish tenor at the Opera Comique, for whom the prima donna had latterly shown a fondness, and to whom Hesse suspected that she was about to become engaged.
‘Only the fact that the Spaniard was lying in hospital saved his life, as letter left by Hesse indicate that he intended to kill him. Fraulein Walter’s mother was sitting in the adjoining room when her daughter was shot.
‘The singer was only twenty-one years of age, and of remarkable beauty and promising voice. She was the daughter of a well-to-do manufacturer, who died a few years ago. Hesse’s ambition was to be an operatic star himself, but he did not possess the required talent, and this made him exceedingly jealous of his fiancee’s success, as well as of her smiles upon other men. He had several times struck her in the midst of jealous fits.
‘Fraulein Walter attempted repeatedly to induce him to leave her and go his own way, but Hesse claimed to be madly in love with her and refused to be repulsed. The police found in his apartments to-day letters from his Spanish rival wherein the latter had rejected Hesse’s demand that he should break off his relationship with the prima donna. The murderer’s parent are wealthy residents of Hamburg.’
(The Grenfell Record and Lachlan District Advertiser, Grenvell, NSW, Australia, Saturday, 22 December 1906, p. 7g)

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Daisy Wood, English music hall singer

June 23, 2014

Daisy Wood (1877-1961), English music hall singer and pantomime celebrity, whose oldest sibling was Marie Lloyd.
(photo: Ralph & Co, Preston, Lancashire, circa 1914)

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Amy Webster, who appeared in the first English production of The Merry Widow at Daly’s Theatre, London, and was later sent to America

June 21, 2014

Amy Webster (active 1900-1908), English actress/showgirl, at about the time of her appearance as Jou-Jou during the long run of the first English production of The Merry Widow, which was produced at Daly’s Theatre, London, on 8 June 1907 and closed on 31 July 1909. During that time Jou-Jou was at various times also played by Dolly Dombey, Dorrie Keppell and Gladys Carrington.
(photo: Rita Martin, London, probably 1908)

Amy (sometime Aimee) Webster was born in London about 1886, the daughter of Frederick Webster, about whom nothing is at present known. She is thought to have made her first professional appearance as an extra in The Price of Peace, the ‘Drama of Modern Life’ produced at Drury Lane Theatre on 20 September 1900. She remained at Drury Lane until early 1903, a period during which she was seen in two more dramas and also in two pantomimes, Blue Beard and Mother Goose (26 December 1901 and 26 December 1902 receptively). She then progressed to adult roles, as Mary Macclesfield in The Little Cherub (Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 31 January 1906) and its revised edition entitled The Girl on the Stage (same theatre, 5 May 1906) in which her part was renamed Gertie Macclesfield. Her last appearances were in The Merry Widow, as above.
Amy Webster was married for the first time on 15 March 1906 at Fulham Register Office to Owain Edward Whitehead Greaves (1882-1941); their wedding was kept secret owing to his position in the Royal Horse Guards. In January 1907 he was posted to India and between August that year and March 1908 she is said to have committed adultery with Eric Loder (who in 1912 married Gabrielle Ray) and George Jervis Wood (who in 1909 married Rosa, Countess von Lónyay de Nagy-Lónya und Vásáros-Namény). When Greaves sued his wife for divorce in 1909, she and Wood denied any wrongdoing while Loder failed to appear or file an answer. Rufus Isaacs represented Greaves; Sir Edward Carson represented Wood. (The Times, London, 27 March 1909)

In 1912 Mrs Greaves gave birth to a daughter, Josephine, whose father was George Maria Joseph Alphonsus Grisewood (1891-1916) of the Grenadier Guards. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France from February 1915 and the couple were married in Marylebone while he was home on leave early in 1916. He died at the front near Merville on 27 March 1916 of pneumonia.

According to Grisewood’s grandson, his widow was subsequently obliged to sever her connection with both the Grisewood family and her daughter. In 1919 she was given a one-way ticket to America and duly arrived at the Port of New York aboard the SS Royal George on 23 February that year. Nothing is known of her life after that date.

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Lily Elsie as Humming Bird in See-See, Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 1906

June 18, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English star of operetta and musical comedy, as she appeared as Humming Bird in the ‘Chinese’ comic opera, See-See, which was produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 20 June 1906. Gabrielle Ray was also in the cast.
(photo: uncredited, probably Bassano, London, 1906)

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Gladys Cooper, photographed in London, about 1908

June 15, 2014

Gladys Cooper (1888-1971), English actress.
(photo: Bassano, London, circa 1908; tinted postcard no. E.2022 published by the Aristophot Co Ltd, London, circa 1908)

Although the exact date of this photograph is uncertain, it is likely to have been taken during the run of the musical play, Havana, which ran at the Gaiety Theatre, London, from 25 April to 12 December 1908. Gladys Cooper appeared as one of the Touring Newspaper Beauties, together with Julia James, Frances Kapstowne, Daisy Williams, Connie Stuart, Kitty Lindley and Crissie Bell.

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Pauline Chase as The Little Japanese Girl

June 14, 2014

Pauline Chase (1885-1962), American actress, as she appeared in the title role of the 1 Act play, The Little Japanese Girl, adapted from the Japanese by Loie Fuller and first produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, on 26 August 1907.
(photo: Bassano, London, 1907).

Other members of the cast were Edward Sass as the Prince and Jane May as the Princess. The piece ran for 49 performances. Pauline Chase appeared again in The Little Japanese Girl at the London Coliseum in the summer of 1911.

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‘PAULINE CHASE AS A STAR.
‘She Makes a Great Success in London in a Play by Loie Fuller.
‘Special Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
LONDON. Aug. 26 [1907]. – Miss Pauline Chase made a brilliant success this evening in Loie Fuller’s one-act play, ”The Little Japanese Girl,” produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre under the management of Charles Frohman.
‘Among her most enthusiastic admirers were Oscar Lewisohn and his wife, (A HREF=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edna_May>Edna May,) who came to London from the country specially to witness the performance.’
(The New York Times, New York, 27 August 1907, p. 7)

‘Pauline Chase is now appearing in a one-act play by Loie Fuller, entitled ”The Little Japanese Girl.” Miss Chase has become so closely identified with the English stage that the British public has come to regard her as its own.’
(The Washington Times, Third Section, Woman’s Magazine, Washington DC, 8 September 1907, p. 8d)

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London, week beginning Monday, 24 July 1911
‘At the Coliseum this week Miss Pauline Chase will appear with three others in Miss Loie Fuller’s one-act play A Little Japanese Girl, with music by Mr. John Crook.’
(The Times, London, Monday, 24 July 1911, p. 10d)

London, 2 August 1911 ‘Pauline Chase came an awful cropper at the Coliseum, where she is appearing in a Japanese play previously done in pantomime by Hanako. It is called ”A Little Japanese Girl,” and it deals with the vanity of a little laundress who put on a Princess’s kimono and rouged her face. She was mistaken for the princess and killed by an outraged princely lover. When the curtain descended on the act at the opening afternoon, there was none insistent ”hand” and Pauline took a bow where she needn’t have troubled. It seems as though ”Peter Pan” will have to be revived.’ (Variety, New York, Saturday, 12 August 1911, p. 15b)