Today is the birthday of the great turn-of-the-last-century actress Margaret Anglin (1876-1958).
Anglin started out in life with some slight advantages — her father was the Speaker of the Canadian House of Commons. She was educated at convent schools and then attended the Empire School of Dramatic Acting, which was affiliated with Charles Frohman’s Empire Theatre. Frohman cast her in his production of Bronson Howard’s Shenandoah in 1894, and her career was assured. After touring with James O’Neill in 1896, she returned to appear in a successful production of Lord Chumley, followed by the part of Roxane in the original American production of Cyrano de Bergerac. She was to star in over 40 Broadway plays through the end of the 1920s. As her prestige grew by the mid teens, she starred in an impressive number of classics: Camille, Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shew, As You Like It, Electra, Iphigenia in Aulis, as well as modern classics like Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Windermere’s Fan and A Woman of No Importance.
Her great popularity with audiences made her box office, and that was why she was also booked to perform at the vaudeville industry’s prime showplace, the Palace Theatre.
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.