Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mae West: Kathleen Clifford

A large cast of actors and actresses rehearsed with MAE WEST for "Vera Violetta," which opened on 20 November 1911 at the Winter Garden Theatre and continued to draw ticket-buyers through the Christmas holidays, closing in late February 1912. Unfortunately, the ambitious Broadway hopeful upstaged the musical revue's haughty French star, so she was dismissed.
• • After the clash with Gaby Deslys, Mae West's part as Miss Angelique from the Opera Comique was awarded to Kathleen Clifford, who also worked with Mae on Broadway in "A Winsome Widow" [April — September 1912]. Since the enchanting Miss Clifford died during the month of December — — on 28 December 1962 — — let's enjoy her company.
• • Kathleen Clifford • •
• • Born in Charlottesville, Virginia on 16 February 1887, Kathleen Clifford was an American vaudeville and Broadway stage and film actress of the early twentieth century.
• • As with "Baby Mae," Kathleen Clifford's career acting was initially built on the vaudeville stages as a comedienne. Renowned for her impersonations of men, Kathleen Clifford was often humorously billed as "The Smartest Chap in Town."
• • In January 1907, Miss Clifford made her Broadway stage debut at the Lincoln Square Theatre in the musical "The Bell of London Town." Clifford's stage credits were numerous and she snagged a variety of parts throughout the 1910s.
• • For example, a large cast was hired for the Florenz Ziegfeld musical production "A Winsome Widow" [staged on Broadway from April — September 1912]. Kathleen Clifford was hired to play a male role: Willie Grow. Mae West won acclaim as La Petite Daffy in the same production.
• • Switching to silent films in 1917, Kathleen Clifford made her screen debut in the William Bertram directed mystery serial "Who Is Number One?" opposite silent film actor Cullen Landis. She would appear in several high-profile roles throughout the late 1910s and early 1920s, most notably: opposite Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. in the comedy "When the Clouds Roll By" [1919].
• • With the advent of the talkies, Kathleen Clifford made one short sound film and then settled into semi-retirement.
• • Come up and see Mae every day online: http://MaeWest.blogspot.com/
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Mae West.

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