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Pauline Lord

(1890—1950)


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(1890–1950), actress. Born in Hanford, California, she made her debut in San Francisco stock in 1903 and afterward toured with Nat Goodwin and played in stock in Milwaukee and in Springfield (Massachusetts) before winning recognition in New York as the innocent Ruth Lennox who is corrupted in The Talker (1912). Lord next found success as two prostitutes: Sadie in The Deluge (1917) and Anna Christopherson in Anna Christie (1921). On a much different track was her portrayal of the innocent young waitress Amy in They Knew What They Wanted (1924). In the 1920s Lord appeared in Trelawny of the Wells (1925 and 1927), Sandalwood (1926), Mariners (1927), Salvation (1927), and replaced Lynn Fontanne as Nina Leeds in Strange Interlude (1928). Her most notable parts in the 1930s were the loyal cook Abby in The Late Christopher Bean (1932), the embittered, unkempt wife Zenobia in Ethan Frome (1936), and Amanda Wingfield in the 1946 touring production of The Glass Menagerie. She was an actress with a singularly identifiable style of performing, which Ward Morehouse described as “so jerky, so halting, so gasping, so volatile, and so brilliant,” and Brooks Atkinson declared “elusive, tremulous, infinitely gifted.”

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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