From the Denver Public Library, Part 1

Maude Fealy at six months old


Born on March 4, 1881 in Memphis, Tennessee, Maude (Hawk) Fealy started her stage career as a young child. Although varied sources set Maude Fealy’s birth date somewhere between 1881 and 1886, the 1971 newspaper obituaries of her death designate it as 1881. Throughout her theatrical career, Fealy’s publicity promotes her as several years younger than her actual age.

Her mother, Margaret Fealy, divorced Maude Fealy’s father, James Hawk of Memphis. Margaret then took her maiden name of Fealy and Maude also went by her mother’s maiden name. At the age of 3 or 4, she began her stage career in a production of Faust and Marguerite, performing with her mother. Fealy continued to play children’s roles until the age of ten, when she left theatre to attend Highlees Academy in Memphis. At this time, her mother opened the Tabor Grand School of Acting in Memphis, so that she could retire from the stage while Maude Fealy pursued her education.

In 1900, Fealy returned to the stage as Eunice in the New York production of Quo Vadis. This performance was followed by her role of Alice Faulkner opposite William Gillette in Sherlock Holmes. In 1903, Fealy’s photograph won the 1,000 franc prize in the International Contest of the Beauties of the World, sponsored by The Paris Figaro Illustre. Her early career in acting continued with the role of Rosamonde opposite Sir Henry Irving in Becket. During the summers of 1904 through 1913, she starred in summer stock at the Elitch Gardens Theatre in Denver, Colorado. Claiming to be the “Youngest Star on the American Stage” (in a publication by Smith-Brooks Company, Denver, Colorado), she played leading lady to actors such as William Gillette, E.S. Willard and Sir Henry Irving. During a production of Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall at Elitch Theatre, Fealy met and performed with a young Cecil B. DeMille. This began a long professional and personal relationship. To be continued.

Published in: on April 30, 2007 at 8:37 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Nice to see someone else who likes Maude. Thanks for this information from the Denver Public Library, I’d not seen some of those facts before.

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