Bonita and Lew Hearn

Pauline Des Landes, a.k.a “Bonita” was born this day in 1886. A dancer from age 12, she began performing in Atlanta and St. Louis before coming to New York to play Koster & Bials. For a time (roughly 1904-1914) she was teamed with Lew Hearn (1885-1965). Polish-born, Hearn was raised in the Lower East Side. He began performing in Bowery saloons and burlesque before moving up to vaudeville. After the team split, Bonita (who’d been the more important star) gradually faded from view — in fact, no one seems to know when she died. Hearn, meanwhile had his turn at success, enjoying numerous Broadway success from 1915 through 1942, including one stint in the Ziegfeld Follies. He also played bit parts in films through the mid 50s.

To find out more about  the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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