Hazel Dawn

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Hazel Dawn
Hazel Dawn on The Theatre cover, August 1914 (crop).jpg
Dawn in 1914
Henrietta Hazel Tout

(1890-03-23)March 23, 1890
Ogden, Utah
DiedAugust 23, 1988(1988-08-23) (aged 98)
New York City, New York
Other namesThe Pink Lady
Years active1914 – 1931
Charles Edward Gruwell
(m. 1927;died 1941)

Hazel Dawn (born Henrietta Hazel Tout; March 23, 1890 – August 28, 1988) was an American stage, film and television actress, and violinist. She was born to a Mormon family in Utah, and studied music in Europe where her father was a missionary. Dawn rose to fame as the title character in Ivan Caryll's The Pink Lady , which opened in 1911 on Broadway and ran for over 300 performances; it earned Dawn the eponymous nickname. She performed extensively on Broadway and began work in film in 1914, appearing in a total of 13 feature films. Dawn died at age 98 in New York City.


Early life

Dawn was born Henrietta Hazel Tout [1] in Ogden, Utah, in 1890. [2] She went to Wales with her family at the age of eight when her father served as a Mormon missionary there. Dawn studied violin and voice in London, Paris, and Munich. [2] She especially was impressed by the attentiveness of teachers she studied under in Paris. Her sister, Nancy Tout, was an opera singer who sang with the Opéra-Comique in Paris.


Stage work

She met producer Ivan Caryll at a party in London. Caryll suggested the stage name Hazel Dawn for her, considering Tout to be "impossible". She met composer Paul Rubens, who offered her a part in Dear Little Denmark at the Prince of Wales Theatre (1909), where she made her theatrical début. She then starred in The Balkan Princess in 1910 as Olga. She achieved a great success with her performance in Ivan Caryll's Edwardian musical comedy, The Pink Lady (1911). [3] The show ran a total of 316 performances on Broadway and then toured, making Dawn famous. [4] In the production, she introduced "My Beautiful Lady", which she sang and played on her violin. Subsequently she was known as "The Pink Lady", [5] and the Pink Lady cocktail may have been named for her. [6]

The Little Cafe (1913) was produced by the New Amsterdam Theatre and adapted from a book by C.M.S. McLellan. One reviewer found the play lacking when compared to The Pink Lady, but he enjoyed the song "Just Because It's You".[ citation needed ] Dawn performed it in the third act. He wrote: "Dawn was radiantly beautiful and sang far better than did other members of the cast." The Little Cafe was a place in Paris where large crowds assembled to admire the renowned beauty of the owner's daughter.

She starred in the operetta The Debutante (1914) at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. under the management of John C. Fisher. Harry B. Smith wrote the book and play adaptation. The setting of the operetta is in London and Paris, and Dawn played a young American girl pursued by a nobleman, who desires her fortune. She plays the violin during a scene where she runs away to Paris and makes her musical debut before an appreciative audience. In December, she appeared in The Debutante at the Knickerbocker Theatre in Washington. The shows she appeared in include The Great Temptations, Getting Gertie's Garter, and The Demi-Virgin as well as vaudeville. Her last appearance on Broadway was in Wonder Boy (1931). [7]

She emerged from retirement in June 1948 to appear on stage with her daughter Hazel Dawn Jr. in a revival of Ruth Gordon’s play Years Ago at the Casino Theatre in Newport, Rhode Island. [8]

Transition to film

Under Cover (1916) Under Cover.jpg
Under Cover (1916)

She made her screen debut as Kate Shipley in One of Our Girls (1914). Her association with Famous Players–Lasky film company dated from this movie. Dawn followed this role with others in Niobe (1915), Clarissa (1915), and The Masqueraders (1915). She made The Fatal Card (1915) with Paramount Pictures.[ citation needed ]

In My Lady Incog (1916), Dawn played a female detective in a movie that is a mystery film, comedy, and a romance. Playing the character Nell Carroll, she co-starred with George Majeroni. In The Lone Wolf (1917), she acts with Bert Lytell in an adaptation of a novel by Louis Joseph Vance. Producer Herbert Brenon was responsible for adaptation to film from the book. Her last film credit was Devotion (1921).

Personal life

Dawn married Charles Edward Gruwell, a mining engineer from Montana, in 1927. At the time, Gruwell was purported to be one of the "richest men in the West." [5] The couple had two children, Dawn Gruwell and Charles E. Gruwell. Her daughter had a career as an actor and singer on film, television and Broadway under the name Hazel Dawn Jr. [9] Many public records confuse the two. [5] [10] Following Gruwell's death in 1941, Dawn worked in the casting department of J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. [5] She retired in 1963.[ citation needed ]

Dawn made a claim for $4,643 against the London Theatre Company, which filed for bankruptcy in August 1915. The company, which produced and staged plays, was located at 1476 Broadway. Dawn was once the mascot of both the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy at one of their annual football games. At one point, West Point cadets tossed their hats onto the stage, one of them belonging to future U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. [5]


Hazel Dawn died at the home of her daughter in Manhattan in 1988 at age 98. [5]


Actress Ruth Gordon cited Dawn as her inspiration for becoming an actress. [11] A 14-year-old Adele Astaire saw Dawn's performance in The Pink Lady and idolized her, thinking her to be "the most lovely, graceful creature" she had seen.[ citation needed ]

In 1953, Dawn was portrayed by Kay Williams in the film The Actress . [12]


1914 One of Our Girls Kate Shipley
1915 Niobe Niobe
1915 Gambier's Advocate Clarissa
1915 The Heart of Jennifer Jennifer Hale
1915 The Fatal Card Margaret Marrable
1915 The Masqueraders Dulcie Larendie
1916 My Lady Incog.Nell Carroll
1916 The Saleslady Helen
1916 The Feud Girl Nell Haddon, 'The Spitfire'
1916 Under Cover Ethel Cartwright
1917 The Lone Wolf Lucy Shannon
1917 National Red Cross Pageant
1921 Devotion Ruth Wayne

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  1. Hunter 2013, p. 234.
  2. 1 2 Slide 2012, p. 123.
  3. Slide 2012, p. 124.
  4. Van Leer, Twila (11 June 1996). "Utah Actress Hazel Dawn Lit Up the Stage and Screen". Deseret News. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Fraser, C. Gerald (31 August 1988). "Hazel Dawn, Stage Actress, Is Dead at 98". New York Times . Retrieved 24 July 2017.
  6. Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 48.
  7. Hazel Dawn at the Internet Broadway Database
  8. The Billboard, June 12, 1948, p.44
  9. Hazel Dawn Jr. at the Internet Broadway Database
  10. Los Angeles Times Sept. 3 1988
  11. Gussow, Mel (1 November 1976). "Going Home to History at 80, Ruth Gordon Recalls 'Her Side'". New York Times. p. 82.
  12. Soares, Emily. "The Actress". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 22 July 2017.

Works cited

Further reading