Stars of Vaudeville #968: Mrs. Thomas Whiffen
Today we treat of English-born actress Mrs. Thomas Whiffen (Blanche Galton, 1845-1936). From the Restoration era (when women first trod the English stage) through the early 20th century, it was common for actresses in the English-speaking world to use their married name as their professional one. Thus, “Mrs. Siddons” and “Mrs. Patrick Campbell”. Her husband, whom she married in 1868 was also an actor. As often happens, though she presumably used his name because it had the greater fame, today it lives on primarily through her.
The Whiffens moved to the states in the year of their marriage. Mrs. Whiffen was Buttercup in the first (albeit pirated) U.S. version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore. She appeared in dozens of Broadway and touring plays through 1927, and was for many years a key member of Charles Frohman’s stock company. Like many great actors of her day, she also made money by appearing iun vaudeville; she played the greatest house of them all, the Palace, in 1916.
To learn more about vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.