Julia Arthur (May 3, 1869 – March 28, 1950) was a Canadian-born stage and film actress.
In February 1892 she gained her first real success at the Union Square Theatre in New York in the role of the Queen in The Black Masque. This performance made her famous, and from the opening night her services were in great demand. A few weeks later she became leading woman in A.M. Palmer's stock company, then considered the leading one in America. With it she played Jeanne in the Broken Seal; Letty Fletcher in Saints and Sinners; and Lady Windermere in Lady Windermere's Fan – her Broadway debut, on February 5, 1893; but her greatest triumph was in Mercedes, a short play by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. She made such an impression that the author presented her with the full rights to the play. Arthur made her second appearance on Broadway in Sister Mary, which ran from May 15 to 29, 1894. Later that year she went to England, where she made her London debut on February 1, 1895, as leading woman, next to Ellen Terry, in Sir Henry Irving's Lyceum Theatre. She played Elaine in King Arthur; Sophia in Olivia; Queen Anne in Richard III; Rosamond in Becket; and Imogene in Cymbeline, the last said to be her greatest role. She returned to America in 1896 with the Irving-Terry company, and was so heartily received that she decided to appear the following season with her own company. On October 14, 1897, she presented a dramatization of Mrs Burnett's novel, A Lady of Quality, herself taking the role of Clorinda Wildairs, and fully justifying her right to appear as a star. The play had its Broadway opening on November 1, 1897.
Born Ida Lewis in Hamilton, Ontario, May 3, 1869, she was the daughter of Thomas J. Lewis, a tobacco manufacturer, and Elizabeth (Arthur) Lewis. Her younger sister, Eleanor Letitia Lewis, became an actress known by the stage name, "Eleanor Dorel". Their mother was a fine Shakespearean reader, but only in an amateur way. Ida Lewis began acting at the age of 11, in 1879, when she played the part of Gamora in The Honeymoon in some amateur theatricals in her own home. She displayed such remarkable ability for her age that a brilliant future for her was predicted. She made her first professional appearance in 1880 with the Daniel E. Bandmann repertoire company as the Prince of Wales in Richard III, and thenceforth she was before the public as Julia Arthur, using the first name of Julia and her mother's maiden name. Her first New York success was at the Union Square Theatre in The Black Masque a stage adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's Masque of the Red Death by Frederick Giles. At the age of 12, in 1881, she became the leading woman, playing Ophelia, Juliet, Portia, Lady Macbeth, Lady Anne in Richard III, and other important roles, and remained with the Bandmann company until 1884. A year of study in Germany followed. Upon her return in 1885 she joined a repertoire company in California, playing the leading female roles in a number of modern plays, among them the Galley Slave, Called Back, Two Orphans, Woman Against Woman, Captain Swift, Colleen Bawn, Arrah na Pogue, Jim the Penman, The Silver King, Uncle Tom's Cabin, The Still Alarm, Peril, Divorce, and The Private Secretary.She made her debut in London in February 1895, with Sir Henry Irving's Company, as Rosamond in Tennyson's Becket. Subsequently she toured with Sir Henry Irving's Company in the United States. She performed in Frances Hodgson Burnett's play A Lady of Quality.
Movies & TV shows
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