As noted in the Playbill Vault, Jeanne Eagels began her legendary Broadway run as Sadie Thompson, “a prostitute at odds with a jungle missionary in Rain, primarily based on a W. Somerset Maugham quick story,” on this day, November 7, in 1922. We’re now just three years away from its centenary. Continue reading
Albert Finney, Anouk Aimee, Audrey Hepburn, Billie Whitelaw, British Cinema, Charlie Bubbles, Erin Brockovich, Gabriel Hershman, Gumshoe, John Osborne, Karel Reisz, Kitchen Sink Drama, Liza Minnelli, Miller's Crossing, New Wave, Orphans, Salford, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, Scrooge, Shelagh Delaney, Sir Laurence Olivier, Stephen Frears, The Dresser, The Gathering Storm, Tom Jones, Tony Richardson, Two For The Road, Winston Churchill, Woodfall Films
Albert Finney was born in Salford in 1936. His father, Albert Sr., was a bookmaker. He attended Salford Grammar School and won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After graduating in 1956, he worked in the theatre, and was an understudy to Sir Laurence Olivier. Continue reading
I’m glad to tell you all that Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed (Revised and Updated) is now available in hardcover and paperback. A full 90 pages longer than the first edition, and with new photos, it will be our last word on Jeanne’s remarkable life and career. So if you’re looking for a meaty biography to read this Christmas, make sure to buy this new edition as the older version will soon be unavailable. I’ve updated all the links to order from Amazon and other stores here.
As autumn leaves began to fall in the New York of 1929, Jeanne Eagels was recovering at home after eye surgery and seeking treatment from her physician at his Park Avenue hospital for a ‘nervous disorder’. After seeing him on October 3, she decided that an evening out might lift her spirits. She slipped into an evening gown complemented by several strands of pearls, and finally put on a fur coat to warm herself in the chilly night air.
However, her condition quickly worsened. A little before 7 pm, she left with her maid, and was driven some 60 blocks to Park Avenue, where her doctor was called from his downstairs residence, and she was escorted into a 5th floor examination room by a nurse. Jeanne removed her coat and was sitting on the bed when she suddenly went into convulsions. The nurse ran into the hall calling for the doctor’s assistant, but by the time they returned, it was too late.
Jeanne Eagels was dead at thirty-nine.
Exactly 89 years later, I am proud to announce that a revised and updated edition of Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, the 2015 biography co-authored by myself and Eric M. Woodard, will shortly be published by Bearmanor Media. We retrace the life and career of the woman who rose from the streets of Kansas City to become a Broadway sensation, and lit up the silver screen: with new material on her loving, if troubled family background; her acting triumphs, including Rain and The Letter; her ill-starred marriage to athlete Ted Coy, and much more.
“Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed offers a startling look at the actress and her times … packed with detail and drama, and does bring Jeanne Eagels into 21st century focus as an ambitious, driven woman who often fought the system, but could not defeat her own demons.” – Liz Smith, New York Social Diary
“Their research, to this reader, sparkles and shines . . . the kind of meat one likes with this rich meal of a book.” – Stephen Michael Shearer, author of Gloria Swanson: The Ultimate Star
“What you are about to read is nothing short of remarkable.” – Michelle Morgan, author of The Ice Cream Blonde and Carole Lombard: Twentieth Century Star
It’s hard to believe that two years have passed since Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed was published. I feel immensely proud to have been part of bringing her unjustly neglected legacy back to the spotlight, and will be eternally grateful to my writing partner, Eric M. Woodard, for giving me that opportunity. Continue reading
Anthony Bushell, Barry O'Neill, Colin Clark, Disraeli, Fredric March, George Arliss, Her Cardboard Lover, Jealousy, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Laurence Olivier, Leslie Howard, Marilyn Monroe, The Prince And The Showgirl
Anthony Arnatt Bushell was born in Westerham, Kent on May 19, 1904. He was educated at Magdalen College School, and later Hertford College in Oxford. He was a champion boxer, rower, and member of the Hypocrites Club, infamous for its wild parties. After graduating, Bushell trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and made his theatrical debut in Diplomacy (1924), opposite Gerald Du Maurier. Continue reading
Alexander Hamilton, Bette Davis, Darryl F. Zanuck, Disraeli, Florence Arliss, George Arliss, Hamilton, J.M. Barrie, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Knickerbocker Theatre, Maria Reynolds, The Professor's Love Story
Augustus George Andrews was born in London on April 10, 1868. He was educated at Harrow, one of Britain’s leading public schools. He worked for the publishing house owned by his father, William Joseph Arliss Andrews, before leaving at eighteen to pursue a life on the stage. After a long apprenticeship in provincial theatre, George Arliss established himself as a supporting actor in London’s West End. Continue reading
Leslie Howard Steiner was born in Forest Hill, South London, on April 3, 1893. His mother, Lillian Blumberg, came from an upper middle-class family who initially disapproved of her choice of husband, the Hungarian Ferdinand Steiner. The Steiners briefly moved to Vienna, returning to London when the rift was healed. They had four more children, and changed their name to the less Germanic ‘Stainer’ at the outbreak of World War I. Continue reading
A.H. Woods, Actors Equity Association, Actors Fund, Brooklyn, Evening of Happiness, Gilbert Miller, Her Cardboard Lover, Jacques Deval, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Laurette Taylor, Leslie Howard, Montauk Theatre
Loretta Helen Cooney was born in Harlem, New York on April 1, 1883, to Irish parents. Her mother, Elizabeth Dorsey, was the owner of a successful millinery, and the family breadwinner. Loretta had two younger siblings. A gifted mimic, she was encouraged by Elizabeth to pursue a life on the stage, though her father, James Cooney, disapproved. Continue reading
Belgium, Bulldog Drummond, C. Haddon Chambers, Cardinal Mercier, Emile Chautard, George Archainbaud, Jeanne Eagels, Jeanne Eagels: A Life Revealed, Joseph Brooks, Leuven, Montagu Love, Shubert Theatre, The Cross Bearer, The Great Pursuit, The Idler, World Film Corporation, World Pictures-Brady
Harry Montagu Love was born in Portsmouth, Hampshire on March 15, 1880. His father was an estate agent. He became a newspaper illustrator during the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the century. By 1911, he was a professional actor. He sailed to America in 1913, supporting the English actor, Cyril Maude, in Grumpy, which had a successful Broadway run followed by a nationwide tour. After returning to New York, he appeared in George Bernard Shaw’s Arms and the Man and Candida at the Garrick Theatre. One of Love’s first films, Hearts in Exile (1915), starred Clara Kimball Young. Continue reading