Bingham, Amelia


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Robert Hilliard (1857—1927)

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(1869–1927), actress and manager. Born in Hicksville, Ohio, and educated at Ohio Wesleyan, she elected a theatrical career despite the vigorous opposition of her deeply religious family. Bingham's earliest appearance was on the West Coast, but she came to New York in 1892 to play in a series of melodramas, including The Struggle of Life, The Power of Gold, and A Man Among Men. Her first important role came opposite Robert Hilliard in a failure called The Mummy (1896). Thereafter she played for several seasons for Charles Frohman in such plays as His Excellency the Governor (1899) and Hearts Are Trumps (1900). In late 1900 she determined to become New York's first important actress-manager since Laura Keene. To that end she leased the Bijou Theatre and enjoyed a major success with her first production, The Climbers (1901), in which she played the compassionate Mrs. Sterling. Her subsequent productions were more or less failures, although The Frisky Mrs. Johnson (1903) had a modest run largely because of the publicity that followed her highly vocal battle with the critics who panned it. After that she played in stock until she returned in the unsuccessful The Lilac Room (1907). For several seasons thereafter she toured successfully in vaudeville, performing “Big Moments from Great Plays.” From 1913 through 1916 she played in The New Henrietta, a modernization of Bronson Howard's 1887 hit. Her last appearance was in a supporting role in The Pearl of Great Price (1926).

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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