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Julia Marlowe

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Julia Marlowe

"...of medium height, slender and frail of aspect, with a pale and rather sallow face, great, dark, and wistful eyes, a head that seemed too big for her body, beautiful, dark-brown hair." an early biographer

Marlowe, Julia [née Sarah Frances Frost] (1866-1950) This British-American actress was born on August 16th, near Keswick, Cumberland, England. When she was four years old, she was brought to Cincinnatti, Ohio, by her mother where they joined her father, who had been forced to flee England after injuring a neighbor in a whipping. In American the family changed the name to Brough, and it was as Fanny Brough that she made her stage debut in that city in 1879 in one of the many juvenile troupes of H.M.S. Pinafore that were the rage of the day. She continued to sing in comic opera for several seasons before playing Heinrich in a touring company of Rip Van Winkle in 1882. She was tutored in the classic repertory by Ada Dow, a retired actress. In 1884, Miss Dow brought Julia to New York, where she secured touring engagements for her in roles such as Lady Teazle and Miss Hardcastle, and later in 1896 as Lydia Languish with Joseph Jefferson and Mrs. John Drew in a  production of The Rivals. She made her New York debut as Parthenia in Ingomar in 1887.  In December of the same year, she performed in Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Ingomar at the Star Theatre with Joseph Haworth as her leading man, and grew rapidly in the public esteem. Over the next several seasons she offered her Viola, Rosalind, and Julia in The Hunchback. For several years, she played Shakespeare heroines opposite her first husband Richard Taber. Following their separation in 1899 she had a New York triumph with the title role in Barbara Frietchie. This was followed by her portrayal in 1901 of Mary Tudor, the sister of Henry VIII, in When Knighthood Was in Flower, directing the production when it went on tour. Both of these roles were at the behest of the Theatrical Syndicate to gain her a larger following and to recoop the losses her Shakespeaean tours had incurred.   Most of her later career was in Shakespearean roles co-starring with her second husband, E.H. Sothern. Illness forced a temporary retirement in 1915, and when she was hurt in an accident in 1924, she retired permanently . She died in New York City on November 12, 1950 at the age of 84.

(click on photo to enlarge)

Julia Marlowe (young)-studio shot in white dress reclining-signed-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (131103 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (walking down step)-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (138874 bytes) Julia Marlowe in 1890-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (60540 bytes)
Portrait Portrait Portrait (1890)
Julia Marlowe in The Hunchback (1888)-Resized.jpg (107417 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Julia in The Hunchback (1883)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (64572 bytes) Julia Marlowe in The Love Chase (1894)-cropped & Resized.jpg (101615 bytes)
as Julia in
The Hunchback 
as Julia in
The Hunchback 
in The Love Chase (1894)
Julia Marlowe-studio shot (hair down) 2-photo-tinted-cropped & Resized.jpg (75975 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (in hat with plume)-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (153690 bytes) Julia Marlowe_head shot-B&W-Resized.jpg (95766 bytes)
Portrait Portrait Portrait
Julia Marlowe in an unidentified role (1901)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (86300 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (looking at fan & rose)-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (134841 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Juliet on her way to Friar's cell-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (89845 bytes)
in an unidentified role (1901) Portrait as Juliet
Julia Marlowe in (1906)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (68433 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (in back trimmed dress)-photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (171595 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (hair down)-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (77247 bytes)
Portrait (1906) Portrait Portrait
Julia Marlowe as Galatea in Pygmalion & Galatea-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (67665 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Imogen in Cymbeline (1893)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (69913 bytes) Julia Marlowe in Colinette (1889)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (69850 bytes)
as Galatea in 
Pygmalion & Galatea
as Imogen in
Cymbeline (1893)
in Colinette (1889)
Julia Marlow as Juliet composite postcards-cepia 1-Resized.jpg (147226 bytes) Julia Marlow as Countess Valeska-Photo 2-B&W-Resized.jpg (80873 bytes) Julia Marlow postcard-cepia-Resized.jpg (117997 bytes)
as Countess Valeska
Julia Marlowe (young)-studio shot in white dress reclining-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (102421 bytes) Julia Marlow as Parthenia in Ingomar-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (84898 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Pathenia in Igomar postcard-B&W-Resized.jpg (342691 bytes)
as Parthenia in Ingoma

as Parthenia in Ingoma (1887)

as Parthenia in Ingoma
Julia Marlowe in Barbara Frietchie-Photo-B&W_Resized.jpg (56379 bytes) Julia Marlowe in Barbara Frietchie-Production Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (300223 bytes) Julia Marlowe_head shot 2-B&W-Resized.jpg (57466 bytes)
in Barbara Frietchie in Barbara Frietchie (1900)
Julia Marlowe as Juliet-headshot-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (71744 bytes) Julia Marlow as Juliet composite postcards-cepia 2-Resized.jpg (146183 bytes) Julia Marlow as Juliet-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (91472 bytes)

as Juliet

as Juliet as Juliet
Julia Marlowe & Robert Taber in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1897)-Photo-B&W-Cropped & Resized.jpg (96387 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studio shot (with Taber)-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (111525 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Mary of the Highlands in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1896)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (71542 bytes)
with Robert Taber in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1897) Mr. & Mrs. Taber as Mary of the Highlands in Bonnie Prince Charlie (1897)
Julia Marlow as Katharine in Taming of the Shrew-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (91289 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Katherine in The Taming of the Shrew (1905)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (82606 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Lady Teazle (1894)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (88313 bytes)
as Katherine in
The Taming of the Shrew
as Katherine in
The Taming of the Shrew
as Lady Teazle (1894)
Julia Marlowe & E.H. Sothern in Anthony and Cleopatra (1909)_Photo-B&W-cropped & resized.jpg (165679 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Cleopatra-photo-B&W-resized.jpg (124760 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Lady Macbeth (1910)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (82381 bytes)
with E.H Sothern in Anthony & Cleopatra (1909) as Cleopatra (1909) as Lady Macbeth (1910)
Julia Marlowe as Rosalind (1910)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (65038 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Rosalind_Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (152323 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Rosalind (1888)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (74685 bytes)
as Rosalind in
As You Like It (1910)
as Rosalind in
As You Like It
as Rosalind in
As You Like It (1888)
Julia Marlowe in Twelfth Night-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (106853 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Viola (1889)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (64282 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Viola in Twelfth Night-Photo 2-B&W-Resized.jpg (88040 bytes)

as Viola in
Twelfth Night (1890)

as Viola in
Twelfth Night (1889)
as Viola in
Twelfth Night
Julia Marlowe as Mary Tudor in When Knighthood Was in Flower ((1901)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (70506 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Viola (1904)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (90254 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Juliet-illustration-tinted-Resized.jpg (181687 bytes)
as Mary Tudor in When Knighthood was in Flower (1901) as Viola in
Twelfth Night (1904)
as Juliet
Julia Marlowe as Portia-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (82498 bytes) Julia Marlowe & E.H. Sothern in Jeanne D'Arc-illustration-tinted-cropped & resized.jpg (124088 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Beatice with E.H. Sothern-Photo2-B&W-Resized.jpg (73510 bytes)
as Portia with E.H. Sothern in
Jeanne d'Arc
with E.H. Sothern in
Much Ado About Nothing
Julia Marlowe as Juliet with E.H. Sothern 3-photo-tinted-Cropped & Resized.jpg (105791 bytes) Julia Marlowe & EH Sothern in Romeo & Juliet-The Bacony Scene-Photo-B&W_resized.jpg (129393 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Juliet with E.H. Sothern 2-photo-tinted-cropped & Resized.jpg (71443 bytes)
with E.H. Sothern in
Romeo & Juliet
with E.H. Sothern in
Romeo & Juliet
with E.H. Sothern in
Romeo & Juliet
Julia Marlowe as Ophelia-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (84232 bytes) Julia Marlowe as Juliet with E.H. Sothern-photo-tinted-Cropped & Resized.jpg (133176 bytes) Julia Marlowe and E.H. Sothern in John The Baptist (1907)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (188204 bytes)
as Ophelia with E.H. Sothern in
with E.H. Sothern in John The Baptist
Julia Marlowe Painting by Irving R. Wiles-Resized.jpg (97359 bytes) Julia Marlowe-studi shot in white dress-photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (88983 bytes) Julia Marlowe in an unidentified play-photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (60086 bytes)
Painting by Irving R. Wiles Portrait unidentified character

Joseph Haworth & Julia Marlowe

During the 1886 New York season, Julia Marlowe was an overnight sensation as Parthenia in Ingomar. The next year, she had great success performing Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and Ingomar in repertory at the Star Theatre, New York. For the Star engagement, Joseph Haworth played Malvolio, Romeo, and the title role in Ingomar opposite Miss Marlowe. Julia Marlowe wrote:

In selecting my company, naturally the most important consideration was the leading man. As I studied the part of Juliet month after month, I had often wondered who my Romeo would be, and considering all the available actors, I had set my mind on Joseph Haworth. I had seen him play in A Moral Crime, a stirring play by Elwyn Barron, a dramatic critic of Chicago. The story somewhat resembled Sardou’s Fedora, and Mr. Haworth’s performance exhibited the very highest qualities of a romantic actor. I had seen him play also in Denise with Clara Morris at Daly’s Theatre, a pronounced success. In appearance he somewhat resembled Edwin Booth. He was dark, with expressive eyes, a fine voice and really great tragic force. Also he played comedy lightly and charmingly. He was generally accounted at that time to be the best actor of leading roles on the American Stage.

Aunt Ada1 made an appointment with Mr. Haworth to meet us at the Bijou Theatre and discuss the engagement. He had heard of my success as Parthenia and was at least curious enough to listen to a proposal. Yet the engagement was only for one week, and he was much in demand at the time.

Said Aunt Ada to Mr. Haworth, "Miss Marlowe is going to produce Romeo and Juliet at the Star theatre on December. The thirteenth."

Mr. Haworth looked at me not unkindly.

" He will do it," I said to myself.

"Who aims at stars shoots higher than he who means a tree," quoted Mr. Haworth. (I discovered later he carried about whole pockets full of aphorisms.)

"Yes," said Aunt Ada, "she is very ambitious."

"I am glad to hear it," approved Mr. Haworth. "I am ambitious myself. But Juliet is a good deal of undertaking."

"He won’t do it," I thought.

"They say no woman can play Juliet until she has ceased to look like it," continued Mr. Haworth with his eyes on me. "Miss Marlowe certainly would look Juliet." And he smiled at me as if to say, "That’s a compliment."

"Oh! He’s going to do it," I said to my heart.

"But," he went on, "the part really requires a life time of experience."

"No he’s not," I murmured and felt my case was lost.

"We propose to produce Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Ingomar," persisted Aunt Ada, who had a way of sticking to the matter in hand, "and the engagement would only be for one week."

"I have studied Romeo," Mr. Haworth said, "but I have not played the part2. I would prefer to play Malvolio in Twelfth Night, but I am not up in it, and Ingomar would be a new part for me3. Three new characters in one week. That’s something of a task even for an experienced actor."

"Let me think about it," temporized Mr. Haworth preparing to go.

Aunt Ada stepped into the breech. "Why don’t we go on the stage and run through the balcony scene?" she suggested. "That will give you an idea of what Miss Marlowe can do."

Mr. Haworth hesitated. He looked at his watch. I am sure he was about to say he had an important engagement and, once he had escaped, we probably would never see him again. His eyes fell on me, but I was praying with all my might that he would play Romeo and I was tongue-tied---I could not say a word in my own behalf.

"Very well," he granted. "Let’s go through with it."

The stage was cluttered with all sorts of lumber---furniture--- boxes---curious paraphernalia belonging to the burlesque of Adonis. A grand piano was surrounded by many chairs in one corner near the footlights where no doubt ladies of the chorus had that morning been taken through new songs. A poor, dim ‘tee light’ shone sadly down front. Ropes with sandbags at their ends hung from the flies.

It was late November, and the theatre was cold. Mr. Haworth shivered and turned up the collar of his overcoat.

"Shall we begin?" asked Aunt Ada.

On the instant, as if he had been waiting for that remark the whole night long, a man in some remote part of the stage began to hammer with all his might. Actors know something of the sort is bound to happen. It can’t be explained, but must be accepted as inevitable and confronted with philosophy.

"I’ll go and speak to him," volunteered Mr. Haworth and disappeared into the gloom.

Assisted by Aunt Ada, I moved some of the deal boxes to one side of the stage, placed them together and lifted a chair on top with its back facing the stage, so that I could lean of the balustrade of Juliet’s balcony. Aunt Ada placed herself ‘within’---behind the boxes---so she could speak the lines of the nurse.

The hammering had ceased. Mr. Haworth reappeared. "I don’t know how we can manage it," said he skeptically. But he was not to escape.

"Oh, yes this is the balcony," said I eagerly, "and that’s the garden---there where you are now."

"Oh, I see," said Mr. Haworth with resignation. "Then I will enter from here," and he moved some of the Adonis properties to one side.

Romeo entered, listened to the derisive shouts of Mercutio and Benvolio and spoke, "He jests at scars that never felt a wound."

Four women cleaners, who had evidently been looking forward to this moment, commenced a violent argument and banged seats with violence.

"Ladies," protested Mr. Haworth. They paid no attention. "Ladies," shouted Romeo. They continued unmoved. Now Romeo addressed them more precisely at the top of his voice. "Cleaner-ladies," he cried.

There was a silence. "Are yez talking to us?" said one.

"I have that honor," replied Mr. Haworth, who had visited Ireland. "Will you, ladies, do me the great favor to remain silent while we go through a scene which I believe will give you very great pleasure? It is said to be the most exquisite love scene the world has ever known. You are women. Pray be seated in four of those chairs with your brooms on your knees. Let me beg your attention while we wring your hearts. Do not restrain your tears."

The four ‘cleaner ladies’ subsided in four stalls.

Mr. Haworth began again:

‘He jests at scars, that never felt a wound.
But, soft! What light through yonder window breaks?
It is the east, and Juliet is the sun!
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief,
That thou her maid art far more fair then she:’

(Juliet enters on to the balcony)

'It is my lady; O, it is my love!
O, that I were a glove upon that hand,
That I might touch that cheek!’

I was no longer on a cluttered stage. I was in a garden of Verona. The little ‘tee light’ became the moon in Italian skies.

‘O Romeo, Romeo! wherefore art thou Romeo?

Through the lines I was thinking: Oh, I wonder if I’ve said it well enough. Will he accept the engagement? Oh, I hope he will.

‘Deny thy father and refuse thy name;
Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,
And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.’

Can he see my face in the darkness? I wondered. Do I look like Juliet? Will he get discouraged? How can I preserve any illusion under these circumstances?

I expected him to stop at the end of my line, but to my delight he went on:

‘Shall I hear more…’
("Oh, yes," said my heart. ‘Please do.)
                          ‘…Or shall I speak at this?’

Here, I knew, was a real, live Romeo. Previously those words had been spoken to me only by Aunt Ada. Now here was Romeo, dressed in a heavy winter overcoat, muffled up to the chin, on a cold dark stage, gazing up at me sitting on two deal boxes with a toppling chair. As the lines floated up to me, I heard them as, during three long years of preparation, I had imagined they must sound. His voice was beautiful, convincing. He had the rare quality of becoming at once the character he assumed. Romeo was never more real to me at any time in my life than that day.

The scene plays about twenty minutes. This thought came to me several times as I threw my heart into the lines: "He must think I am doing it well or he would stop." To my glad surprise he continued until the end.

‘Parting is such sweet sorrow
That I shall say good-night till it be morrow…’

" I’ll do it!" shouted Mr. Haworth.

I hardly heard the comment of one of the cleaners, "This talk sets me crazy." Down I came from my dry goods box and rushed to Aunt Ada, wondering if I had justified my apprenticeship of years, long years, wondering if I had really satisfied Mr. Haworth---wondering if I had done justice to Shakespeare. My anxiety was cut short by hearing Aunt Ada ask Mr. Haworth, "What is your salary?"

Mr. Haworth descended from the clouds. "Oh, three hundred and fifty dollars a week," said he, and then with a pleasant smile at me added, "But if it’s any consideration, I’ll take three hundred to play with Miss Marlowe."

I had never done much shopping and certainly none for Romeos, nor did I know their market values. But I thought it nice of Romeo to mark himself down like that, so I said gratefully, "Oh, Mr. Haworth."

If he had said three million, it would not have seemed much to Juliet whose pocket had never in her life contained more than a few dollars at a time. There’s nothing like beggary to make one generous. I quite expected a wizard to wave a wand and materialize the necessary money out of the air. However, to Juliet’s aunt even three hundred dollars seemed a large sum. Still she was well aware of Mr. Haworth’s value and she jumped at the bargain.

The matter was settled. My Romeo was secured.

" Oh! it’s fine," he said. "I’m full of enthusiasm about it. I’ll go at once and start all the interest possible." He looked at me and intently for the first time---I mean at me, Julia Marlowe, for he had been gazing with love at Juliet. "We’ll have a great success," he predicted and took my head. "I’ll be ready in a week for rehearsal---perfect, letter-perfect in my part."

He rushed through the dark auditorium and bowled over one of the cleaners who sat down hard on the floor. "A thousand pardons, madam," he cried as he lifted her up.

"The devil take ye!" was all his thanks, but Mr. Haworth embraced her and declaimed "Look thou but sweet and I am proof against their enmity." Then once more waving his hand to me, he shouted, "It will be fine! It will be splendid!" and made his exit.

When rehearsals began I found all the actors helpful and sympathetic. The first day I was regarded with curiosity, but my evident knowledge of what I was about soon inspired respect. There was no doubt or hesitation over our stage directions. Everything proceeded swiftly and with certainty; every detail had been thought out.

"Seldom have I seen rehearsals go so smoothly," Mr. Haworth praised. He took pains to be kind and helpful, remaining after the others had gone to request that I go over scenes with him. He was a man of great experience and great natural gifts, and I owe much to his guidance.

Another instance of Mr. Haworth’s exuberance occurred when one afternoon we went for a walk in Central Park after an early dinner to go through our lines. As dusk came on, a ragged man approached us while we were crossing the great meadow. Mr. Haworth, nervous and excitable, became suspicious and said, "I don’t like that chap. He’s up to something."

"Oh, nonsense," I replied. "He’s only a poor creature anxious for charity."

"I don’t know," said he. "I’ve heard of queer doings in this park."

At that moment the man walked up to us swiftly and said something in a low tone. Instantly Mr. Haworth turned on him in amazing fury and hurled in his teeth the lines of the fiery Tybalt4:

‘Alive, in triumph! And Mercutio slain!

Away to heaven, respective lenity,

And fire-eyed fury be my conduct now!

Now, Tybalt, take that ‘villain’ back again

That late thou gavest me; for Mercutios’ soul

Is but a little way above our heads,

Staying for thine to keep him company:

Either thou, or I, or both, must go with him.’

Those words, uttered with the most tragic frenzy and accompanied by a violent gesture, culminating in a furious rush at the astounded man, so terrified him that he ran yelping across the meadow, surely convinced that he had met a lunatic.

"One can’t be too careful with that sort of people," said Mr. Haworth. "One never knows what they’re up to."

As I learned something of his past, my admiration for Joseph Haworth increased. There was much similarity in the circumstances of our lives. His father was an Englishman from Lancashire; his mother spoke with a strong Lancashire accent. The family had emigrated before Joseph’s birth to Cleveland, Ohio5, where the elder Haworth secured a position as a railway engineer6. As the children grew up they were given jobs at the Cleveland Terminus7. But Joseph became enamored of the stage and entered the stock company of the Cleveland Euclid Avenue Opera House. Later he played at the Boston Museum. He supported his widowed mother, helped his brother to enter Annapolis, aided his sister and finally purchased a home for the family in Cleveland. All this was done on a salary of thirty dollars a week, while he himself lived on an allowance of seven dollars weekly. Afterwards he was leading man with John McCullough until that tragedian died. He had filled brilliant engagements in New York before acting with me. He was to die at the early age of thirty-five8.

1. Actress Ada Dow was Julia Marlowe's mentor and business manager. (Back to text)
2. Joseph Haworth had already played Romeo opposite Mary Anderson in Boston. (Back to text)
3. Joseph Haworth had already starred as Ingomar in matinee performances with McCullough's company. (Back to text)
4. These are actually Romeo's lines spoken to Tybalt. (Back to text)
5. Joseph Haworth was born in Providence, Rhode Island. (Back to text)
6. Joseph Haworth always stated the his father was a surveyor. (Back to text)
7. Joseph Haworth said he worked in a newspaper office as a boy, and there are press references to a lawyer who employed him. (Back to text)
8. Joseph Haworth died at the age of forty-eight. (Back to text)

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