“I’m not pretty, but I’m good to my family.”
So began each of Emma Carus’s vaudeville performances. Born this day in 1879, she moved to the U.S. from her native Berlin during her childhood. Her mother was an opera singer, her father, a manager. She herself got into the business at the age of fifteen when she was discovered while singing at the hotel where she worked. She began playing in operettas and occasional vaudeville dates. Gradually she went from bit roles in Broadway shows to starring ones. In 1907 she was cast in the very first edition of the Ziegfeld Follies. 1911 marked her last Broadway show. Thereafter, she was strictly a vaudeville headliner until her retirement shortly before her death in 1927.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, please consult my critically acclaimed book No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other fine establishments.