Viola Allen

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Viola Allen
Viola Allen seated.jpg
Born(1867-10-27)October 27, 1867
DiedMay 9, 1948(1948-05-09) (aged 80)
Years active18821919
Peter C. Duryea
(m. 1905;died 1944)

Viola Emily Allen (October 27, 1867 – May 9, 1948) was an American stage actress who played leading roles in Shakespeare and other plays, including many original plays. She starred in over two dozen Broadway productions from 1885 to 1916. Beginning in 1915, she appeared in three silent films.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.



Allen was born in Huntsville, Alabama in 1867 (some sources say 1869; see discussion ), the daughter of actors C. Leslie Allen (1830–1917) and Sarah Lyon. [2] [3] She moved to Boston at three years of age and later moved with her family to Toronto. She was educated at the Bishop Strachan School, her brothers being educated at Trinity College School, Port Hope, Ontario. [4] She then attended a boarding school in New York City. [2]

Huntsville, Alabama City in Alabama, United States

Huntsville is a city located primarily in Madison County in the Appalachian region of northern Alabama. Huntsville is the county seat of Madison County. The city extends west into neighboring Limestone County and south into Morgan County. Huntsville's population was 180,105 as of the 2010 census. Huntsville is the third-largest city in Alabama and the largest city in the five-county Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville, AL Combined Statistical Area, which at the 2013 census estimate had a total population of 683,871. The Huntsville Metropolitan Area's population was 417,593 in 2010 to become the 2nd largest in Alabama. Huntsville metro's population reached 441,000 by 2014.

Bishop Strachan School

The Bishop Strachan School (BSS) is an Anglican day and boarding school for girls in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The school has approximately 900 students, including 80 boarding students, ranging from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 12. The School is named after John Strachan, the first Anglican bishop of Toronto, and was founded by John Langtry in 1867. The founders' intention was to educate girls to be leaders.

Trinity College School independent school in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada

Trinity College School (TCS) is a coeducational, independent boarding/day school located in Port Hope, Ontario, Canada. TCS was founded on May 1, 1865, more than 2 years prior to Canadian Confederation. It includes a Senior School for grades 9 to 12 and a Junior School for grades 5 to 8.

Viola Allen Viola Allen.jpg
Viola Allen

Allen had her first stage appearance at the age of 15 at Madison Square Theatre in New York in 1882. Annie Russell, who was playing the title role in Esmeralda, took ill at one point during the long run. Allen's father was a member of the cast, and the theater's stage manager asked if Mr. Allen would allow his daughter to play the part. [5] Allen's debut attracted the attention of actor John McCullough, who made her his leading lady in 1884. [6]

Madison Square Theatre former New York theatre

The Madison Square Theatre was a Broadway theatre in Manhattan, on the south side of 24th Street between Sixth Avenue and Broadway It was built in 1863, operated as a theater from 1865 to 1908, and demolished in 1908 to make way for an office building. The Madison Square Theatre was the scene of important developments in stage technology, theatre design, and theatrical tour management. For about half its history it had other names including the Fifth Avenue Theatre, Daly’s Fifth Avenue Theatre, Hoyt’s Madison Square Theatre, and Hoyt’s Theatre.

Annie Russell actress

Annie Ellen Russell was a British and American stage actress.

John Edward McCullough American actor

John Edward McCullough was an American actor.

Between the years of 1884 and 1886, she performed in a variety of modern and Shakespearean plays. She performed with the best-known 19th century actors including: Tommaso Salvini, Lawrence Barrett, Joseph Jefferson, and William J. Florence [4] . She is best remembered for her roles in Shenandoah (by Bronson Howard) and Little Lord Fauntleroy (by Frances Eliza Burnett).[ citation needed ] From 1885 to 1916, Allen starred in over two dozen Broadway productions, creating characters in many original plays. She played classical Shakesperean and comedy roles with Salvini, Lawrence Jarrett, Joseph Jefferson and V. J. Florence. In 1898, she created the character of Glory Quayle in Hall Caine's "The Christian." She acted in The Masqueraders, Under the Red Robe , The Christian, [7] In the Palace of the King (1900), Twelfth Night , A Winter's Tale , As You Like It , The Lady of Coventry (1911), and others. She played such roles as Virginia, Cordelia, Desdemona, Lydia Languish, Dolores, Julia and Roma. [4]

Tommaso Salvini Italian actor

Tommaso Salvini was an Italian actor.

Lawrence Barrett American stage actor

Lawrence Barrett was an American stage actor.

Joseph Jefferson 19th-century American actor and author

Joseph Jefferson, commonly known as Joe Jefferson, was an American actor. He was the third actor of this name in a family of actors and managers, and one of the most famous of all 19th century American comedians. Jefferson was particularly well known for his adaptation and portrayal of Rip Van Winkle on the stage, reprising the role in several silent film adaptations. After 1865, he created no other major role and toured with this play for decades.

The gravesite of Viola Allen Viola Allen Gravesite.JPG
The gravesite of Viola Allen
Viola Allen in The Daughter of Heaven, a play by Pierre Loti and Judith Gautier Viola Allen in The Daughter of Heaven.jpg
Viola Allen in The Daughter of Heaven, a play by Pierre Loti and Judith Gautier

Allen starred in the 1915 silent film The White Sister along with Richard Travers. The film was produced by the Essanay Studios and was based on the 1909 play The White Sister that was a hit for Allen. She was married to Peter Duryea from 1905 until his death in 1944. Her last professional appearance was in 1918, at a benefit supporting war relief. She remained an active supporter of charitable and theatrical organizations. [ citation needed ]

The White Sister is a 1915 American silent film produced by Essanay Studios. It is based on the 1909 play The White Sister by F. Marion Crawford and Walter Hackett. This film, directed by Fred E. Wright, stars Viola Allen, a prominent stage actress in her first movie. Allen had also created the role in the play and it was one of her biggest successes. It is not known whether the film currently survives.

Richard Travers Canadian film actor of the silent era

Richard Travers was a Canadian film actor of the silent era. He appeared in 143 films between 1912 and 1930.

Essanay Studios

The Essanay Film Manufacturing Company was an American motion picture studio. The studio was founded in 1907 and based in Chicago, and later had an additional film lot in Niles Canyon, California. It is best known today for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies of 1915. In the 1920s, after it merged with other studios, it was absorbed into Warner Brothers.

She died in New York City, and is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Sleepy Hollow, New York.

New York City Largest city in the United States

The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York, is the final resting place of numerous famous figures, including Washington Irving, whose story "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" is set in the adjacent burying ground at the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hollow. Incorporated in 1849 as Tarrytown Cemetery, the site posthumously honored Irving's request that it change its name to Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

Sleepy Hollow, New York Village in New York, United States

Sleepy Hollow is a village in the town of Mount Pleasant, in Westchester County, New York. The village is located on the east bank of the Hudson River, about 30 miles (48 km) north of New York City, and is served by the Philipse Manor stop on the Metro-North Hudson Line. To the south of Sleepy Hollow is the village of Tarrytown, and to the north and east are unincorporated parts of Mount Pleasant. The population of the village at the 2010 census was 9,870.


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  1. Notable American Women
  2. 1 2 Browne, Walter and Fredrick Arnold Austin (eds.) "Who's Who on the Stage: The Dramatic Reference Book and Biographical Dictionary of the Theatre, Vol. 1", W. Browne & F. A. Austin, (1906), p. 15, accessed June 18, 2013
  3. "Biographical History", Finding Aid for the Charles Leslie Allen Playbook Collection, Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, accessed October 8, 2014
  4. 1 2 3 Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 10.
  5. "Viola Allen, The Life and Times of Joseph Haworth, accessed November 28, 2012
  6. Eaton, Walter Prichard (1910). The American Stage of Today. New York, NY: P.F. Collier & Son.
  7. Clapp, pp. 63–65

Further reading