On Author and Actress Ruth Chatterton

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Actress and author Ruth Chatterton (1892-1961) was born on this day. Born and raised in New York City, Chatterton was only a teenager when she secured her first professional stage work with a stock company in Milwaukee in 1908. By 1911. she was on Broadway, where she was to appear in a succession of plays through 1925, the biggest success of which was Daddy Long Legs (1914-1915 and 1918). She later returned to Broadway in the 1940s and early ’50s. It was during her stage years, that (like so many) she also appeared in big time vaudeville, performing at the Palace in 1927.

Her film career was launched in 1928 with the part-talking Sins of the Fathers with Emil Jannings. Other notable films included Madame X (1929), The Laughing Lady (1929) and Dodsworth (1936). By 1938 her screen career had petered out and that was when she made her return to the stage, and occasional television appearances. Throughout the 1950s, she reinvented herself as an author, penning four successful books.

For more on vaudeville historyconsult 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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