Posts Tagged ‘Sarah Bernhardt’


Sarah Bernhardt in America, 1906

August 23, 2013

Sarah Bernhardt (1845-1923), French tragedienne and theatrical manager, in America, 1906
(photo: unknown, circa 1905)

‘Manager Samuel Gerson, of the Garrick, went out to Davenport and booked Sarah Bernhardt at the new Independent theatre there under very unusual circumstances. The guarantee for one night if $3,000 and seats will be sold at $6 or more. The street railway company owning the system uniting Davenport with several nearby cities, including Rock Island, will build a loop around the theatre especially for the one Bernhardt night and run special cars. As the Theatrical Syndicate controls the bill posting service in Davenport not a sheet of paper will be put up, but the newspapers in the city are luckily not in the hands of the Trust, so they will be used. The theatre is owned by the Turners and has been made a handsome house by the Independents, who have just opened it. There is a great deal of wealth in Davenport, especially among the Germans. They were bound to have Bernhardt, and being free now to go after what they want instead of having to take what they get, it is expected that the future bookings of Davenport will show a wonderful change.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 6 January 1906, p.12a)

‘Sarah Bernhardt had gone no farther on her tour of the United States then Washington before she wired her beauty doctor, the small Greek of Parisian education, Cassairato. Madame must have her lotions and her thousand and one intricacies of her toilet, and Cassairato, when she left in new York, must follow. He has gone with her on tour, and with them, playing a small part in the company, is the beauty doctor’s chic young wife, who is a far more successful exponent of his noble profession than the small doctor himself.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 20 January 1906, p.2a)

‘Bernhardt’s Tour Extended.
‘Sarah Bernhardt, instead of playing a twenty weeks’ engagement in the United States, as originally planned, has agreed to extend her tour for ten weeks longer, and will play straight to the Pacific Coast before closing her season and returning to France. William F. Connor is now at work mapping out the new route. All arrangements have been made for Madame Bernhardt’s appearance on March 26 in Dallas, Tex., where she is obliged to play in a circus tent. The tent will seat four thousand people. It is to be set up in Cycle Park and will be draped with American and French flags. A huge sounding board will be built over the stage, so that those far away from the footlights may be able to hear well. The railroads will run excursion trains form points within one hundred miles.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 17 March 1906, p.9a)

‘Sarah Bernhardt’s Cousin.
‘Maurice Bernhardt, said to be a full cousin of Sarah Bernhardt, is living in a home for aged and infirm Israelites at St. Louis, Mo. He is seventy-five years old and has been in the United States for fifty-four years. He visited his cousin at the Garrick Theatre when she played in St. Louis and had a long talk with her. He is not destitute, but lives in the home because he finds it an agreeable place of residence.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 17 March 1906, p.9b)


Sarah Bernhardt in London, 1907, for the publication of her autobiography

August 20, 2013

Sarah Bernhardt (1845-1923), French tragedienne, in London, October/November 1907, for the French season and the publication of her autobiography, My Double Life

Madame Sarah Bernhardt and some of her Company; a group taken at the Royalty Theatre, London, October/November 1907.
left to right: Madame Allisson, M. Richard, M. Gerval, Mdlle. Flori, Madame Cerda, Madame Renée Parny, M. Mathillon, M. Maxudian, Madame Blanche Defrene, Madame Sarah Bernhardt, M. Decœur, Mdlle. Seylor, Madame Boulanger, M. Deneubourg, Madame Due, M. Piron, M. Guide, and M. Bouthors.
(photo: Dover Street Studios, London, 1907)

‘The interest of the playhouse in the feminine has been greatly increased during the week by the publication of My Double Life, the autobiography of Sarah Bernhardt, and the appearance of the lady herself at the Royalty. There has been so little of the mollusc [a reference to the comedy, The Mollusc, Criterion Theatre, London, 15 October 1907] about her that she might have well called it My Sextuple Life, for she has crammed into it enough to fill the lives of half-a-dozen ordinary women. She has dabbled in all the arts and touched the heights of passion in a way that would obsess most other women completely. It is a lively book tingling with sensations, and will interested everybody who cares to come into contact with a personality which feels life – and death for that matter – acutely. Her appearance at the Royalty is the most interesting event of the French season. Mr. Heinemann, who publishes the book (at 15s.) has also issued a cheap single-volume edition of Mr. Bram Stoker’s book on Sir Henry Irving.’
(J.M. Bulloch, The Sphere, London, Saturday, 26 October 1907, p.82b)

Sarah Bernhardt
Madame Bernhardt asleep in her coffin. The celebrated photograph from My Double Life, the memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt, published in London in October 1907 by William Heinemann. (photo: unknown, Paris, 1880s)

‘It was by a curious coincidence that the week which saw the production of Mr. [Roy] Horniman’s play [The Education of Elizabeth, Apollo Theatre, London, 19 October 1907] should also have seen the publication of Madame Bernhardt’s autobiography My Double Life, which gives an extraordinarily vivid impression of the working of the wheels of the real theatrical mind, not so much in a direct way but so far as its entire spirit is concerned. The impression of the book has been heightened by the opportunity of seeing Sarah at the New Royalty, where Mr. Gaston Mayer is conducting a very brilliant French season. Madame Bernhardt, like everybody with a temperament, varies greatly, but of recent years she has seemed really to be getting younger. The mere ability of being able to play such stuff as [Victorien Sardou’s] La Sorcière is extraordinary.’
(The Sphere, London, Saturday, 2 November 1907, p.104c)


Julie Opp

April 16, 2013

Julie Opp (1871-1921), American actress
(photo: unknown, circa 1900)

OPP, Miss Julie (Mrs. William Faversham):
‘Actress, was born in New York in 1873, and was educated in a convent there. When she was twenty years old she began writing. As a reporter she went to Paris and interviewed [Emma] Calvé and Sarah Bernhardt. Both urged her to adopt the stage as a profession, offering their advice, influence and support. Returning to this country, Miss Opp made her first public appearance in the spring of 1896 at a recital given by Madame D’Hardelot at the Waldorf, New York. She recited “The Birth of the Opal,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. The same year, returning to Paris, she made her first appearance on the legitimate stage, with Madame Bernhardt, in the ballroom scene in Camille. She then [in 1896/97] obtained a year’s engagement in the company of George Alexander at the St. James’s Theatre, London, during which she was understudy to Julia Neilson in The Prisoner of Zenda, and played Hymen in As You Like It. During the illness of Miss Neilson she played Rosalind and made her first big success. She was next seen in The Princess and the Butterfly in London, and in 1898 she appeared in this country in the same play, afterward being seen as Belle in The Tree of Knowledge. She then went back to London and played several leading parts at St. James’s Theatre there, where she created the rôle of Katherine de Vancelle in If I Were King. Returning to this country under engagement with Charles Frohman, Miss Opp played leading parts in the company supporting William Faversham, whose wife she became in 1902. She continued to play leads with her husband until 1905, on October 31 of which year a son was born to them. The Favershams have a farm in England. Their home in this country is at 214 East Seventeenth street, New York.’
(Walter Browne and E. De Roy Koch, editors, Who’s Who on the Stage, B.W. Dodge & Co, New York, 1908, pp.334 and 335)

* * * * * * * *

‘Curtain Falls for Julie Opp.
‘New York, Apr. 8 [1921]. – Mrs. William Faversham, who, while she was on the stage, was known as Julie Opp, died here today at the Post Graduate hospital after an operation.
‘Mrs. Faversham, who was born in New York City, January 25, 1871, was originally a journalist here and contributed articles to a number of magazines. She made her first appearance on the stage in London in 1896 as Hymen in As You Like It. In November, 1897, she came to America and made her debut in this city at the Lyceum theatre as Princess Pannonla in The Princess and the Butterfly.
‘She appeared with her husband in The Squaw Man in 1906. Later she played Portia in The Merchant of Venice and other leading roles.’
(Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Friday, 8 April 1921, p.1b)

‘Julie Opp.
‘The death of this actress is taken account of here, as all news concerning those eminent on the stage is sure to be. All of the greater performers sooner or later appear here, as it is the ultimate western goal of thespians. Julie Opp was recognized as a sterling actress, appearing with her husband, William Faversham, and with him, commanding unusual consideration. Though her great talents and remarkable beauty made an artistic impression in themselves, she may not have been taken to San Francisco’s heart in that intimate way in which some stage favorites have been. It may be that Sanfrancisco’s penchant this way has waned. Very long ago it ceased throwing coins on the stage, as in the case of Lotta. And later it ceased worshipping intensely at individual shrines, as in the case of Mrs. Judah. Perhaps in general it is now inclined to continue its approval of stage folk to unemotional judgment of their histrionic abilities. Mrs. Faversham’s death discloses two facts that may not have been generally known. She had been married before her union with Mr. Faversham. Early in her career she married Robert Loraine, but the union was not prosperous and did not last long. She is the mother of two sons. It is also of interest that she was once a newspaper reporter, and by her general aptitude attracted the attention of such a noted stage celebrity as [Sarah] Bernhardt, in whose company she served her novitiate.’
(The Oakland Tribune, Oakland, California, 17 April 1921, Magazine Section, ‘The Knave’)

* * * * * * * *

‘Mother-in-Law Sues Faversham for Real Estate
‘Claims Actor Obtained Property from Her Through Misrepresentation.
‘New York, June 1 [1922]. – Court proceedings were begun today in an effort to force William Faversham, the actor, to return to Mrs. Julie Opp, mother of his late wife, Julie Opp Faversham rights to property which Mrs. Opp claims Mr. and Mrs. Faversham obtained through misrepresentation.
‘The petition alleges that besides obtaining the property by misrepresentation, Faversham obtained from her large sums of money which he never repaid.
‘The real estate in question, Mr. Opp alleged, was left her by her husband, John Opp, who died in 1898. Later, she charges, Faversham told her his wife was in need of funds with with which to meet obligations, and asked that Mrs. Opp sign papers for a loan to be secured on this property.
‘These papers, Mrs. Opp claims, were afterward discovered to be quit claim deeds, turning the property over to “Peter S. O’Hara” whom she characterizes as a “dummy.” The consideration was $24,000, but neither she nor any one representing the estate of her husband has received any of this sum, she says.
‘Mrs. Opp now declares herself to be without means of support by reason of her “scant business experience” and Mr. Faversham’s “knowledge of worldly affairs.”’
(The Bridgeport Telegram, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 2 June 1922, p.10c)


Sarah Bernhardt

February 18, 2013

Sarah Bernhardt (1844-1923),
French tragedienne,
back at work, 1915/16, following the amputation of her right leg;
snapshot thought to have been taken
behind the lines on the Western Front in late 1915 or 1916.
She is accompanied by two women,
one of whom (centre) is believed to be the actress, Beatrix Dussanne.
(photo: unknown, 1915/16)

‘Actress, Whose Right Leg Was Amputated, Able to Get to Balcony.
‘Paris, March 12 [1915] – The Gaulois has received the following telegram from Mme. Sarah Bernhardt, at Bordeaux. “I am sending this telegram from the balcony, where I have been walking for the last hour.”
‘“Walking” is, of course, somewhat of an exaggeration, in view of the fact that Mmr. Bernhardt’s right leg was recently amputated, but the telegram shows that her convalescence has commenced.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 13 March 1915, p.7g)

‘“Divine Sarah” Recovered.
‘Bordeaux, June 7. – Sarah Bernhardt is preparing to return to the stage. She is completely recovered from the operation in which her right leg was amputated above the knee, and has been busy rehearsing at Andernes, near here.
‘“I am reserving my first appearance for Bordeaux,” she said. “I will just make a little talk, illustrating it with several poems.”’
(The Edwardsville Intelligencer, Edwardsville, Illinois, Monday, 7 June 1915, p.1f)

‘PARIS (Special. – Sarah Bernhardt made, on August 15 [1915], her first public appearance since her recent operation and the audience which greeted her in the open air theater at Andernos, near Bordeaux, where she has her residence, accorded a tremendously enthusiastic ovation.
‘Mme. Bernhardt appeared at a charitable matinee, the proceeds of which went for the benefit of wounded French soldiers. The Prefect introduced Mme. Bernhardt, while other dignitaries of the Department of Gironde escorted her.
‘When she was seen walking across the stage without crutch or cane or giving any evidence of fault in her gait because of her artificial limb, men, women and children mounted the chairs in the open air auditorium and cheered till their voices gave out.
‘Mme. Bernhardt seated herself in a big chair in the centre of the stage and recited patriotic poems, arousing enthusiasm with every phrase. Once she walked down to the front of the stage, astonishing and stirring her audience.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 25 August 1915, p.8c)

‘Holds Reception to Her Friends Between the Acts.
‘The Paris correspondent of London Truth tells of a recent visit of Sarah Bernhardt to the theater. She writes:
‘“Sarah was seen in half-reclining attitude, wrapped up light and loosely in lace and muslins of mauve and white tone. She was quite a figure for a water-color painter, and as diaphanous herself as her wraps. The public, alive to her presence, applauded, as they say here, warmly, not to say enthusiastically. She bowed very gradually, and with an elegant motion of her hand signified that it would give her more than pleasure to take all her welcomes to her heart. Old friends were allowed to offer congratulations and flowers between the acts. Sarah Bernhardt, without sign of fatigue, spoke of her gratitude to mes fideles everywhere; of London, where she had so many generously minded sympathizers, and where she soon hoped to be; of those in the United States, and of her intention to cross the American continent and play at the exhibition in San Francisco. Until she leaves for London she intends to lie by in utter quiet at her place in Britanny. Her artificial leg is a wonder of igneous joinery – light, springy, yet strong, and it lends itself to all the movements of the torso and the other limb.’
(The Syracuse Herald, Syracuse, New York, Sunday, 31 October 1915, p.9g)

‘PARIS. Dec. 29 [1915]. – Mme. Sarah Bernhardt who has recently been reported very ill arrived today from Bordeaux. Mme. Bernhardt was looking exceedingly well and when asked how she felt replied,
‘“Why, I am as fit as a fiddle. Reports that I was seriously ill were absolutely false. I am leaving for London Friday to fill a theatrical engagement.’
(The Lima Daily News, Lima, Ohio, Wednesday, 29 December 1915, p.1b)

Sarah Bernhardt
a Jeanne Doré lobby card featuring Sarah Bernhardt in a scene from the film
(photo: Film d’Art, France, released by Blue Bird Photo Plays, 1915)

‘First of the Bluebird Films Shows the Divine Sarah Still a Great Artiste.
‘The first release of the new Bluebird Photoplays was made last week when Madame Sarah Bernhardt was seen in Jeanne Dore. This is the first appearance of the divine Sarah since the operation which removed her forever from the stage, to which she has contributed a lifetime of superlative art. Coincident with the public showing of this first release of the new company comes the announcement that M.H. Hoffman has been appointed general manager of the new company. He will retain his position as general manager of the Universal, and while combining the two offices will keep them distinctly separate.
‘The Bluebird company will be a separate and distinct organization from the Universal, yet will at the same time have the use of all the Universal producing facilities, as well as the distributing organization. The fact makes Mr. Hoffman particularly valuable to the new company, for he is also the manager of the Universal exchanges. The new company will rent space in each of these offices. With the tremendous expense of establishing the production plants and distribution agencies eliminated, Bluebird starts off with an advantage possessed by no other promoters of features.
‘Mr. Hoffman when interviewed by a representative of The Mirror, said: “Bluebird is going to mean a great deal to the moving picture industry. It is going to be more than just a trademark for the releasing of films; it is going to be a degree of quality. A film, in order to become a Bluebird, will have to pass a critical board of fifteen exhibitors, and to get a Bluebird verdict the jury must be unanimous. At the present we have a dozen Bluebird pictures ready for release, all of which are equal in quality to our first release of Madame Sarah Bernhardt. Everything of high art that can possibly be adapted from the science of the acted drama will be translated to Bluebird. We mean to do the right thing in the right way, but do not expect anybody to take our word for it. We shall leave Bluebirds themselves to speak for us to the exhibitor and through him to the public.”
Jeanne Dore, the first of the Bluebird films, is a melodrama by Tristan Bernard depicting the sacrifices of a mother, first for her husband, a gambler, and then for her son, who murders his uncle in an effort to raise money for a faithless woman with whom he is infatuated.
‘Madame Bernhardt portrayed the self-sacrificing mother with her old grace, charm and gravity. In the pictures in which her face was brought close to the camera she resembled a woman of fifty. At no time did she appear feeble or really aged. More than anything else, the photo play appears to prove that if she comes to America she will probably give a surprisingly youthful performance for a woman who is more than seventy.
‘Miss Florence Lawrence, the motion picture star who has just returned to the screen after a two years’ retirement, appeared on the stage just before the Bernhardt picture was exhibited, and later occupied a stage box to see it.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 15 January 1916, p.25a/b)

Sarah Bernhardt
Sarah Bernhardt in a scene from the film Jeanne Doré
(photo: Film d’Art, France, released by Blue Bird Photo Plays, 1915)


Harry Lauder in Chicago, 28 December 1908

February 1, 2013

Harry Lauder (1870-1950),
Scottish comedian and comic vocalist
(photo: unknown, circa 1916)

Harry Lauder in Chicago, 28 December 1908
‘Harry Lauder marched up Michigan Boulevard one fine day last week, with a procession of bands and Scotchmen ahead of him. He was on his way from the station to Orchestra Hall, where he began a short engagement Wednesday. He was the first theatrical attraction to appear in Orchestra Hall, the home of the famous Thomas organization of musicians, and represented, as Sara [sic] Bernhardt in her tent tour did, an independent determination to entertain the American public in spite of the theatrical syndicates. If Mr. Lauder is an example of gifted people who cannot get on with the vaudeville syndicate, the public is missing a great deal, for Mr. Lauder proved himself fully as good as his reputation led us to expect. His characterizations were complete and true, and they were recognized with great applause. He did the foolish boy, besides his other famous song, and it was conceded that this achievement alone entitled him to his prominence. On the bill with Mr. Lauder are Willy Zimmerman, whose imitation of famous composers-directors were of similar excellence to Mr. Lauder’s characters, and fully appreciated; Vasco, the “mad musician,” who got some of the most emphatic applause of the evening; Virginia Vervell, singing Scottish songs; the Three Constantine Sisters; Admini and Taylor, whose good vocal and instrumental music was applauded, and the Japanese balancing act of Yamamoto and Koyoshi. Mr. Lauder and company will return to Orchestra Hall for two performances New Year’s Day.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 2 January 1909, p.4a)