Ray Cox: The Southern Girl

Ray Cox (1881-1957) was billed in vaudeville as the “Southern Girl” or “The Girl from Dixie” and she played a sort of modern Southern belle character.

Some sources give her birthplace as Baton Rouge, making her the genuine article, but others say Illinois. She went to high school in Chicago and made her stage debut in Peoria, so there’s that. Mabel Hite is said to have encouraged her stage ambitions. She debuted at Tony Pastor’s in 1903 and rapidly became a vaudeville headliner as a fast talking character monologist. In one bit she was a girl at a baseball game (you can hear that one here) and another one was a riff on marriage (you can read that one here).

Then came Broadway: she was in the show La Belle Paree (1911) with Al Jolson, Lew Fields’ The Never Homes (1911), The Charity Girl (1912) with Blossom Seeley, and Twin Beds (1914-15) with Madge Kennedy. In 1917 she married a movie executive named Harvey Flint and retired from the stage. She died 40 years later in Providence, Rhode Island.

For more on vaudeville, please see No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous.