Julia Arthur: Shakespeare, Vaudeville and Vitagraph


Today is the birthday of Julia Arthur (Ida Lewis, 1869-1950). Originally from Ontario, Arthur was considered one of the great Shakespearean actresses of her time, notable for her appearances at New York’s Union Square Theatre (prior to its becoming a vaudeville house), and with Ellen Terry and Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre. Her first Broadway play was the American premiere of Wilde’s Lady Windermere’s Fan in 1893; her last was MacBeth  with Lionel Barrymore in 1921. And she appeared in ten of Stuart Blackton’s Vitagraph films from 1908 through 1919, including the 1910 version of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. 

Like most of the major thespians of the day she appeared at the Palace Theatre, appearing on a bill there in the 1920s, alongside Moran and Mack and musician Vincent Lopez.

To learn more about 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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