La Napierkowska: Too Adventurous for America


Today is the birthday of Renée Claire Angèle Élisabeth Napierkowski, a.k.a. Stacia Napierkowska (1891-1945). The Polish-born actress, pantomime and interpretive dancer lived and performed in Paris, where she danced in cafes and cabarets, and acted in 86 films between 1908 and 1926, many of them opposite the comedian Max Linder.

Her time on the American vaudeville stage was brief. Martin Beck brought her over to appear on the opening bill of the Palace in 1913. Critics were dismissive, calling her essentially a “midway cooch dancer”. A few weeks later she was arrested for indecency, and she sailed back to Paris with nothing but bad things to say about America.

To learn 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, and to learn more about silent and slapstick comedy please check out my new book: Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Mediaalso available from etc etc etc

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