Early 20th century Actresses with a focus on their great war activities

Lily Brayton 1876-1953

In 1914 she appeared in the silent film adaptation of Kismet. Her husband, Arthur Asche, wrote the text for the hit musical comedy Chu Chin Chow which was staged in London in 1916. Brayton played the lead female, Zahrat-al-Kulub. It played until 1921, an unprecedented run of 2,238 performances of which Brayton played in nearly 2000.

Maie Ash 1888-1923 biography

1914 recording Family Secrets

Adrienne Augarde 1882-1913 biography

Sybil Arundale 1879-1965 biography

Films: Tom Jones (1917), God and the Man (1918)

Jean Aylwin 1885-1964 biography

In 1915 she starred in the Scottish themed show, All Scotch - described as a tartan review. She performed in a number of benefit concerts during the war.

Jessie Bateman 1877-1940 biography

Billie Burke 1884-1970 biography

Films: Peggy (1916), Gloria's Romance (1916), Arms and the Girl (1917), The Mysterious Miss Terry (1918), Let's Get a Divorce (1918).

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Gloria's Romance film score

Esme Beringer 1875-1972 biography

Fims: All the World's a Stage (1917)

Lilian Braithwaite 1873-1948 biography

Films: The World's Desire (1915), Justice (1917), Dombey and Son (1917), The Gay Lord Quex (1917), Because (1918)

Mrs Patrick Campbell 1865-1940 biography

Plays: In 1914 she played Eliza Doolittle in the original West End production of Pygmalion, a part expressly written for her by G B Shaw.

1929 talk on acting

Irene Castle 1893-1969 biography

1915 Castle Walk

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Louie Collier

Camille Clifford 1885-1971 biography.

Her first husband, Captain the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruse, was killed at Ypres in December 1914 serving with the Royal Scots.

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Marguerite Clark 1883-1940 biography

Films: She sign a contract in 1914 with the Famous Players-Lasky. In 1915 she starred as Gretchen in the Goose Girl, and The Seven Sisters, and then took the lead role in the influential film version of Snow White (1916), the inspiration for Walt Disney. In 1918 she acted in Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Show White 1916 recording; another recording

Gladys Cooper 1888-1971 biography

Films: several

Plays: The Admirable Crichton (1916), Trelawny of the Wells

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Kate Cutler 1864-1955 biography

Plays: numerous

Edith Cole

Constance Collier 1878-1955 biography

Films: 4 in 1916 including uncredited appearance in D.W.Griffiths Intolerance.

Miriam Clements

Pauline Chase 1885-1962 biography

Films: The Real Thing at Last (1916) shown for the benefit of the YMCA and attended by members of the Royal family.

Phyllis Dare 1890-1975 biography

She began to develop a relationship with Paul Rubens who has written the music for recent production that Phyllis had been in, The Sunshine Girls and The Dairymaids. He continued to write for her: Miss Hook of Holland (1914 revival at the Prince of Wale's, and Tina (1915 at the Adelphi). He dedicated his most famous song, I Love the Moon, to her. Dare became engaged to Rubens but he died of TB in 1917 at the age of 41. Dare appeared in few productions over the following years, such as Hanky-Panky at the Empire Theatre in 1917.

Singing circa 1919

Song from 1909 musical The Arcadians

The Girl with the Brogue from the Arcadians 1909

Zena Dare 1887-1975 biography

After a busy careers during the 1910s, Zena married Maurice Baliol Brett, second son of Viscount Esher and they married in 1911, when she was 23 and at the height of her career. Zena retired from the theatre to have a family. However, she then work for three years nursing injured soldiers at Mrs Vanderbilt's American Hospital in France.

Lilian Hall Davis 1898-1933 biography

Films: The Admirable Crichton (1918), The Romance of Old Bill (1918)

Dolores Del Rio 1905 - 1983 biography

Maudi Darrell 1882-1910 biography

Dorothy Drake

Lilly Elsie 1886-1962 biography

Lilly's biggest success came in creating the title role in the English language version of The Merry Widow which opened in 1907. She married in 1911  but suffered from frequent ill health and retired from the stage for several years, with the exception of charity benefit performances for the war effort. She acted in Malvourneen and in The Admirable Crichton in 1916, and in 1917 in the title role of Pamela.

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1918 recording

You didn't ask me first recording

Winifred Emery 1861-1924 biography

numerous performances

Maxine Elliott 1868-1940 biography

Maxine was an American actress and business woman. During World War I she moved to Belgium and volunteered both her income and time to the cause of Belgian relief, for which she received the Order of the Crown (Belgium). She had planned to marry Tony Wilding, but he was killed on May 9th 1915 at the Battle Aubers Ridge. In 1917 she returned to the USA and signed with Goldwyn Pictures to make Fighting Odds and The Eternal Magdalene. There is film of her visiting Charlie Chaplin’s studios in 1918.

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Francis Earle 

Maud Fealy 1883-1971 biography

Beatrice Forbes-Robertson 1883-1967 biography

In a varied career, she was an actress from the age of 17 and a suffrage speaker in England before moving to New York in 1907. During WWI she was president of the British War Relief Association, raising funds in New York for military hospitals abroad. She also wrote several books including What Women Want: An Interpretation of the Feminist Movement, The Nest Builder (1916, novel), and Little Allies: A Story of Four Children (1918).

Dorothy Frostick 

Lillian Gish 1893-1993 biography

One of the most acclaimed actresses of the silent movie period, she starred in many of the most acclaimed films of the director D.W.Griffiths, including The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916).

1912 The Unseen Enemy

1913 The Mothering Heart

1913 The House of Darkness

1915 Birth of a Nation excerpt

1916 Intolerance

Kitty Gordon 1878-1974 biography

Films: As in a Looking Glass (1916), Her Maternal Right (1916), The Crucial Test (1916), Vera the Medium (1917), Forget-Me-Not (1917), Beloved Adventuress (1917), Her Hour (1917), National Red Cross Pageant (1917), The Divine Sacrifice (1918), The Wasp (1918), The Purple Lily (1918), Stolen Order (918), The Interloper (1918), Tinsel (1918-the only surviving film), Merely Players (1918).

Evie Greene 1875-1917 biography

Evie appeared in a revival of Florodora in 1915, and performed at least until the end of 1916 at the London Palladium.

Mabel Green 

Adelina Genee 1878-1970 biography

Adlina was a Danish/British ballet dancer. In 1916, she went on a sixteen-week tour of Australia. The Australian navy cheered wildly when she danced a hornpipe at a benefit show called "Navy Night." She gave her last major performance in April 1916 at the Coliseum in The Pretty Prentice.

Gladys Grenville

Isabel Jay 1879-1927 biography

Recording of My Heart's At Your Feet

Daisy Jerome 

Maud Jeffries 1869-1946 biography

Hadie Wright 

Mabel Hirst 

Beatty Kingston 

Vera Edwardine

Hilda Coral 

Daisy Le Hay 

Miriam Lewes 

Blanche Love

Mabel Love 1874-1953 biography

Madge Lessing 1866-1932 biography

1913 Wo ist Coletti?

Mona Limerick 

Hilda Bruce-Potter

Mrs Lind 1861-1923 biography

Ethel Matthews 

Edna May 1878-1948 biography

After her marriage in 1907 she made brief returns to the stage: Masque of Peace and War in London (1915). She starred in the 1916 film Salvation Joan, donating the proceeds to charity.

Jane May 

Olive May

Maggie May

Delia Mason 

Gertie Millar 1879-1952 biography

Gertie appeared in two Monckton revues, Bric a Brac (1915) and Airs and Graces (1917), two musical comedies Hoop La! (1916) and Flora (1918) before finally leaving the stage in 1918.

1910 recording of Moonstruck

1915 Chalk Farm to Camberwell Green from Bric a Brac

1915 I'm Simply Crazy from Bric a Brac

Neville was a Devil

Under the Deodar

Tony from America

In Yorkshire

Olive Morrell 

Julia Neilson 1868-1957 biography

Julia starred in Mistress Wilful by Ernest Hendrie (1915).

Mae Murray 1885-1965 biography

By 1915 Me was a headline star with the Ziegfeld Follies. She made her debut in films in To Have and to Hold (1916), becoming one of Universal's major stars.

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Mary Pickford 1892-1979 biography

One of the greatest and most influential of the early movie stars, Mary was already a household name by the beginning of WWI. Hearts Adrift (1914) was so popular that Mary was able to negotiate a significant pay rise. The release soon afterwards of Tess of the Storm Country made her one of the most universally recognised film actresses. Earning $10,000  a week, she made Poor Little Rich Girl (1917), Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1917). In 1919, together with D.W.Griffiths, Charlie Chaplin and Douglas Fairbanks, she formed United Artists.

The Country Doctor 1909

Sweet Memories

Cinderella 1915

Poor Little Rich Girl 1917 recording

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Annie Purcell 

Mrs Cora Urquhart Brown Potter 1857-1936 biography

Gabrielle Ray 1883-1973 biography

After her divorce in 1914 she made her last appearances in the London West End in 1915 in the musical Betty and in 1916, the revue Flying Colours.

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Ida Rene 

Ada Reeve 1874-1966 biography

A successful pantomine and musical star, she toured extensively during WWI in Australia and South Africa.

1915 Foolish Questions

1932 I never forget I'm a lady

Gaynor Rowlands 1883-1906 biography

Irene Rooke 1878-1958 biography

An English theatre and film actress, she appeared in the film  version of Lady Windermere's Fan (1916).

Lelia Roze 

Marie Studholme 1872-1930 biography

One of the most well-known actresses of her day, she retired from performances in 1915.

Blanche Stocker biography

Nina Sevening 1885-1958 biography

An English stage actress, she appeared in The Clever Ones (1914), Caroline (1916) and Trelawny of the Wells in 1917. She retired from the stage that same year.

Winifred Siddons 

Ellaline Terriss 1871-1971 biography

Ellaline and her husband Seymour Hicks toured France after the outbreak of WWI to give concerts to British troops. She also appeared in films: The Flame of Passion (1915), A Woman of the World (1916) and Masks and Faces (1918).

Medley from 1932

Ellen Terry 1847-1928 biography

The foremost Shakespearean actress of her time, from 1914-15 she toured Australasia, the USA and Britain, reciting and lecturing on Shakespeare's heroines. In 1916 she acted in Barrie's The Admirable Crichton (1916) and performed in many war benefit concerts. In 1916 she also appeared in her first film, Her Greatest Performance. In 1918 she made Victory and Peace.

1911 Mercy speech from Merchant of Venice and 1923 silent film

Hilda Trevelyan 1877-1959 biography

Ruth Vincent 1877-1955 biography

A leading performer of Gilbert and Sullivan

1904 Nymphes and Sylvans

1906 Home Sweet Home

Mrs Lewis Waller 

Dorothy Ward 1890-1987 biography

Caroline Segond Weber 1867-1945 biography

A French actress, she played in L'Eternelle Presence (1917) and Lucrece Borgia (1918)

Daisy Revett biography

Mabel Lait biography

Clara Kimball Young 1890-1960 biography

She was an American film actress whose first films were with Vitagraph. Her career was launched by the 1914 release of My Official Wife. By 1915 she was a leading figure in the film industry. She had a much publicised affair with Lewis J. Selznick, the film mogul. He set her up in her own film company but this arrangement soured. She tried to establish a new film making business Harry Garson but her career began to slide.

1912 A Lively Affair

1914 My Official Wife

1915 Hearts in Exile

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