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Mathilde Cottrelly

(1851—1933)


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(1851–1933), singer and actress. Born in Hamburg, where her father was an opera conductor and several other family members were performers, she made her stage debut at the age of eight, and at sixteen she was singing important roles in contemporary light operas. Cottrelly also appeared in nonmusical plays and performed in circuses with her husband. In 1875, several years after her husband's death, she came to America, and within a few seasons she was a popular player in German-language productions at the Irving Place Theatre as well as in similar theatres around the country. Shortly thereafter she joined McCaull's Comic Opera Company, becoming not only its leading comedienne but also one of its leading directors and costume designers. Her business acumen was such that McCaull made her his silent partner and generally allowed her to determine the company's budget and handle its finances. In the mid-1890s she abandoned musicals and embarked on a career as a character actress. Her first major role in this field was Mme. Vinard, the heroine's friend, in Trilby (1895). Because of her accent she was often assigned Jewish parts and played in many of the comedies of the Potash and Perlmutter series, making her final appearance in Potash and Perlmutter, Detectives (1926). Her most famous characterization was probably Mrs. Isaac Cohen, who can talk of little but her operation, in Abie's Irish Rose (1922).

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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