Kate Claxton


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Lotta Crabtree (1846—1924)

Augustin Daly (1838—1899)

George C. D Odell (1866—1949)


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(1848?–1924), actress. Born in Somerville, New Jersey, she made her debut in Chicago in 1869, then played for a time opposite Charlotte Crabtree. Her first New York appearance came under Augustin Daly as Jo in Man and Wife (1870), then she scored her greatest success as the blind Louise in The Two Orphans (1874). Although Claxton was forever afterward identified with the role, she also gave other memorable performances, such as the guilty Roberte in Ferreol (1876). Her career was plagued by her reputation as a tragic jinx, since she was playing Louise when the Brooklyn Theatre caught fire with great loss of life in 1876 and was performing at the time of several other theatre fires. Her grandfather had been on stage at the Richmond Theatre when it burned. To overcome this stigma, as well as to secure roles other than Louise, she attempted to produce plays and manage theatres, but she had little luck and returned to acting The Two Orphans wherever she could obtain bookings. Whatever flaws she may have possessed as an actress, according to Odell, she excelled “in sweetness, in beauty and in an innate refinement of manner.”

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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