The Importance of Being William Courtenay


Today is the birthday o actor William Courtney (William Hancock Kelly, 1875-1933).

Courtenay played big time vaudeville (including the Palace) but is most known as a legit actor of Broadway and early motion pictures. Originally from Massachusetts, starting in 1899 he began appearing in a series of plays with Richard Mansfield, including Cyrano de Bergerac and Beau Brummel. In 1902 he was Algy in Charles Frohman’s production of The Importance of Being Earnest. He appeared in a small number of silent pictures from 1915 through 1917, and five talkies shortly before he died. It was primarily on the fame of his stage work that he was booked for vaudeville.

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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