Posts Tagged ‘Mabel Russell’

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Annette Fengler in England, 1900/01

June 21, 2015

Annette Fengler (?1879-?), American vaudeville and music hall singer
(cabinet photo: Hana, London, probably 1900)

‘William E. Hines and Miss Earle Remington, well-known and highly-appreciated artistes from the “other side,” will make their first appearance in England at the Tivoli on Monday. The particular business they affect is the original Bowery boy and girl, Yankee editions of the “Bloke” and “Donah” of Cockaigne. Miss Hines is also responsible for a humorous representation of the new woman “tramp” – a caricature of the unfettered female, and Mr Hines represents a type of the New York politician. On the same evening Miss Annette Fengler, another American lady, will commence an engagement at the same house, where she recently deputised for Countess Russell.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 April 1900, p. 18b. Countess Russell, formerly Mary (Mabel) Edith Scott, married as his first wife in 1890 Frank Russell, 2nd Earl Russell (1865-1931). She made her living for a while on the variety stage as a singer during their protracted divorce proceedings.)

The Tivoli music hall, Strand, London, week beginning Monday, 30 April 1900
‘Two new turns from America were last night introduced into the programme. They met with widely different receptions. It may be that [husband and wife duo] Mr. Hines and Miss Remington’s impersonations are true reproduction of some class that exists in America. One must remember that in some part of England Mr. [Albert] Chavalier’s costers were mistaken for Germans. But to the audience of last night the creatures before them were not any known or even conceivable class of human beings, their doing and their dialect wee alike utterly unintelligible. And the audience condemned the turn as one does not recollect any inoffensive music hall turn ever having been condemned before. Fortunately, the Tivoli programme can stand a weak turn or two, and the reception accorded to Miss Annette Fengler showed that the audience was free from all insular prejudice. Miss Fengler is an extremely pretty and elegant young lady, Slender and of more than common height, and most becomingly clad in an elaborate “confection” of pink silk, she had half conquered the audience before she opened her mouth. She sang two songs. Of the first once grasped little but the refrain, which ran “You know I left my little home for you” [i.e. ’I’d Leave ma Happy Home for You’]. The other was a sort of coon song about a little chocolate coloured boy, whose head appeared towards the end through a hole in the white sheet that served for background. These songs Miss Fengler sang very sweetly and daintily, passing the intervals, as American ladies are wont to, in ambling about the stage in rather forced attitudes. But she brought an unusual amount of grace to the business. The peculiar feature of her performance is, however, her singing some passages in an extremely high voice. These she rendered not only with a power for which the rest of her singing had not prepared one, but with exquisite purity and great beauty of execution. They were hailed with delight: the singer was encored, and it was quite evident that the audience would willingly have listened to her for another half hour. Miss Fengler has every reason to be satisfied with her first appearance in England… .’
((The Morning Post, London, Tuesday, 1 May 1900, p. 5g)

‘Miss Annette Fengler, an American variety artiste, is making a very favourable impression at the Tivoli. Her voice is, in quality, above the average heard on the music-hall stage, and the introduction of the little woolly-headed negro, whose head only is visible on the white canvas background when he joins in the song, is a novel feature.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Saturday, 5 May 1900. p. 7c)

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Lily Morris as Jack in the pantomime, Jack and Jill at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, Christmas 1907

December 6, 2013

Lily Morris (1882-1952), English music hall comedienne and pantomime principal boy as she appeared in the role of Jack opposite Mabel Russell as Jill in the pantomime Jack and Jill, at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol, Christmas 1907.
(photo: Protheroe, Bristol, 1907/1908)

‘The part of Jack has been allotted to Miss Lily Morris, who was with us [at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol] two seasons ago, and it is a character to which she is eminently suited. She has plenty of spirit, and invests the part with the necessary amount of dash and ”go.” Miss Morris is abundantly supplied with songs, which she will quickly popularise; in fact, ”My Lassie from Lancashire” was soon caught up on the first night. She also sings, ”Put me amongst the girls” and ”Meet me, Jenny, when the sun goes down.” Miss Mabel Russell, as the principal girl, Jill, undertakes the part charmingly. Miss Morris and Miss Russell work hard together, and they are amply rewarded by applause. Miss Russell shows her capabilities as a dancer after singing one or two acceptable ditties, and she has already become a warm favourite.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 2 January 1908, pp. 5e-6b)

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Belle Ross in The Dairymaids on tour in the UK during 1908

October 2, 2013

Belle Ross (active 1907/09), English actress and dancer, as she appeared in a United Kingdom tour during 1908 of The Dairymaids
(photo: Bassano, London, 1908)

Belle Ross first came to notice during the Christmas season of 1907/08 as Little Red Riding Hood in the touring pantomime, A Fairy Pantomime; or, Little Red Riding Hood, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre, Ipswich, before moving on to the Royal Theatre, Peterborough, and then to the Royal Theatre, Norwich. She next appeared during 1908 as Rosie in a touring production headed by Phyllis Dare of The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play. The following Christmas Belle Ross was seen as Lord Chestnut in the pantomime, Cinderella, which was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 24 December 1908, with Dan Roylat as the Baron, Mabel Russell as Mopsa, Carrie Moore as Rudolph and Phyllis Dare in the title role.

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October 2, 2013

Belle Ross (active 1907/09), English actress and dancer, as she appeared in a United Kingdom tour during 1908 of The Dairymaids
(photo: Bassano, London, 1908)

Belle Ross first came to notice during the Christmas season of 1907/08 as Little Red Riding Hood in the touring pantomime, A Fairy Pantomime; or, Little Red Riding Hood, which opened at the Lyceum Theatre, Ipswich, before moving on to the Royal Theatre, Peterborough, and then to the Royal Theatre, Norwich. She next appeared during 1908 as Rosie in a touring production headed by Phyllis Dare of The Dairymaids, a farcical musical play. The following Christmas Belle Ross was seen as Lord Chestnut in the pantomime, Cinderella, which was produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, on 24 December 1908, with Dan Roylat as the Baron, Mabel Russell as Mopsa, Carrie Moore as Rudolph and Phyllis Dare in the title role.

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Lily Elsie and her husband, Ian Bullough, with Mabel Russell

April 10, 2013

a snapshot of Mr and Mrs Ian Bullough (Lily Elsie) with Mrs Hilton Philipson (Mabel Russell) (photo: unknown, England or Scotland, circa 1919)

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Mabel Russell

February 7, 2013

Mabel Russell (1887-1951)
English actress and singer
(photo: Dover Street Studios, London, circa 1908)

The tragic end of Mabel Russell’s first marriage, Maidenhead, England, 1911; and she is elected a Member of Parliament, 1923
‘Mrs. Stanley Rhodes, formerly Mabel Russell favorite of [G]aiety theater goers, London, was badly injured in an automobile collision at Maidenhead, England. Her husband, who was driving the car, was killed. He was only 21 and a nephew of the late Cecil Rhodes. They had been married but three months.’
(New Castle News, New Castle, Pennsylvania, Wednesday, 13 September 1911, p.6c. The actress Mabel Green, a passenger on that occasion in the Rhodes’s car, was also injured.)

‘Who’s Who in the Day’s News.
‘Mrs. Hilton Philipson
‘The membership of the England’s historic house of commons now includes a former chorus girl. The recent election of Mrs. Hilton Philipson brought this about. Mrs. Philipson, known on the stage as Mabel Russell, worked her way from chorus girl to stardom before quitting the footlights to wed Philipson in June, 1917.
‘She is the third member of her sex to enter the British house. Lady Astor and Mrs. Margaret Wintringham are the others who preceded her. Mrs. Philipson is a conservative and won her seat from Berwick-on-Tweed as such, defeating her liberal and labor opponents by a majority of over 6,000. She succeeds her husband, who was elected by the same constituency last November but who was disqualified because of alleged illegal acts on the part of his election agent. It is an odd coincidence that all three of the women house members succeeded their husbands.
‘Mrs. Philipson has been married twice. Her first husband was Stanley Rhodes a cotton magnate. He was killed in an auto accident in 1911 and following his death she took up [i.e. resumed] a stage career. She is now thirty-six and the mother of three children.’
(The Chronicle Telegram, Elyria, Ohio, Saturday, 9 June 1923, p.4)

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February 3, 2013

Thelma Raye (née Thelma Victoria Maud Bell-Morton, 1890-1966)
English musical comedy actress,
in costume as O Kiku San
in the revival of The Geisha, Daly’s Theatre, London, 18 June 1906.
The front-of-house frame encloses
photographs of Miss Raye by the Dover Street Studios
as she appeared in The Little Michus.
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1906)

Auburn haired Thelma Raye was born on 6 September 1890 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Nothing is known at present of her early life and training as an actress and singer in musical comedy, and the first we hear of her is in The Little Michus (Daly’s, London, 29 April 1905), playing Marie Blanche in succession to Mabel Green and Denise Orme, and Ernestine in succession to Nina Sevening, Bertha Callan, Iris Hoey, Mabel Russell and Marie Löhr. Remaining with the same management for the next two years she was next seen in the revival of The Geisha (Daly’s, 18 June 1906) as O Kiku San, before playing in Les Merveilleuses (Daly’s, 27 October 1906) as Illyrine in succession to Denise Orme, and in The Girls of Gottenberg (Gaiety, 15 May 1907) as Elsa in succession to May de Sousa and Enid Leonhardt.

Thelma Raye’s next engagement was to play Helene in the American production of the popular English musical, The Dairymaids (Criterion, New York, 26 August 1907, 86 performances). Returning to England she was re-engaged by George Edwardes for the part of Elsa in a touring company of The Girls of Gottenberg, beginning with a short stay at the Adelphi Theatre, London (10 August 1908, 12 performances). She was next seen in a tour of The Pigeon House, first produced at the New Theatre, Cardiff, on 27 June 1910; during the run her part of Léontine de Merval was later played by Iris Hoey and Dorothy Moulton. Miss Raye was afterwards engaged to play Mariana in Bonita (Queen’s, London, 23 September 1911, 42 performances), Honorka in The Grass Widows (Apollo, London, 7 September 1912, 50 performances), and Fifi du Barry (in which part she was succeeded by Marie Blanche) in The Joy-Ride Lady (New, London, 21 February 1914, 105 performances).

Thelma Raye
Thelma Raye as Fifi du Barry in
The Joy-Ride Lady, New Theatre, London, 21 February 1914.
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, 1914)

On 21 Marcy 1917, now aged 26, Thelma Raye was married to Percy Stewart Dawson (1888-1947), an Australian and member of the Steward Dawson family of jewellers and silversmiths of Sydney & London. The couple had already had a daughter, Dawn, who was born at Bournemouth in England on 1 April 1913. The marriage foundered, however, and in March 1918 Miss Raye returned to London. During 1919 she was on a UK tour as the lead in Cosmo Hamilton’s play, Scandal. It was at about this time that she met the actor Ronald Colman (1891-1958); they were married at on 18 September 1920. Frustrated by his inability to make headway with his career, Colman left England for New York less than a month later followed by his wife in February 1921.

Later recalling that this was the most difficult period in his career, Colman was lucky enough to be chosen to appear in Henri Bataille’s drama, La Tendresse, starring Ruth Chatterton (Empire, New York, 25 September 1922). This led to his being cast as leading man to Lillian Gish in the 1923 Hollywood film, The White Sister, in which Thelma was allocated a tiny part. Such was the success of this venture, at least as far as Colman was concerned, that he was awarded a contract by Samuel Goldwyn and during the next eighteen months he appeared in several other films, two of which respectively starred May McAvoy and Constance Talmadge. In 1924 Colman was seen again with Lillian Gish, in a film version of George Eliot’s novel, Romola, in which Thelma Raye was given an uncredited bit part.

There is little doubt that Colman’s steeply rising success as a Hollywood star soon put an intolerable strain on his marriage. The couple publicly acknowledged a breakdown in their relationship by early 1926 and although separated they did not formally split for another eight years. As one writer has put it, ‘Raye loomed in the background and would periodically appear – often demanding more money in proportion to her husband’s increasing financial success. A divorce was finally arranged after Raye was offered a hefty financial settlement and the parasitic relationship finally came to an end.’ This view was endorsed in the biography, Ronald Colman: A Very Private Person (William Morrow & Co Inc, 1975) by Juliet Benita Colman (b.1944), Colman’s daughter by his second marriage to the English actress Benita Hume. Miss Colman’s opinion of her father’s first wife was that she had ‘a jealous and vindictive nature.’

Of Thelma Raye very little else is heard. In the summer of 1938 it was rumoured that she was to return to the stage in a play, A Garden of Weeds by Ronald Gerard, which was to tour in the United States before a New York opening, but nothing seems to have come of this or any other theatrical project. Then in early in 1939, describing herself as ‘the Original Mrs. Ronald Colman,’ Thelma Raye was reported to have opened a small sports/novelty shop at Laguna Beach, California. She settled in New South Wales, Australia, about 1943 and died at Port Macquarie on 29 June 1966.