Bernhardt, Sarah


Bernhardt, Sarah
(1844-1923)
   Undoubtedly the most celebrated actress in the world for much of her career, the "divine" French actress with the "golden voice" made nine American tours between 1880 and 1918. She docked in New York on 27 October 1880 for her first nationwide tour under the management of Henry Abbey and Maurice Grau. The publicity had been phenomenal even before her arrival, with frequent news stories about her wardrobe, her skeletally thin silhouette, her frizzy red hair, her inscrutable French manners, her temper tantrums, and even some attempts to analyze her talent. Booking Bernhardt was initially regarded as financially risky for local theatre managers, as her tour managers asked $4,500 per performance, Bernhardt being personally guaranteed $1,500 per performance beyond expenses. However, her bookings quickly proved profitable and remained so, even after audiences discovered that they did not magically understand the French language in which Bernhardt and her company performed.
   Bernhardt's subsequent American tours were in 1886-1887, 1891, 1896, 1900-1901, 1905-1906, 1910, 1912-1913, and 1916-1918. The last four were billed as her "farewell" tours of America. From 1905 also she often performed in unconventional venues—tents, skating rinks, sports arenas—in order avoid playing theatres controlled by the Theatrical Syndicate. For the last two tours, she was booked by producer Martin Beck on the Orpheum vaudeville circuit, supposedly as a means of giving popular-price audiences an opportunity to see her. In 1915, she had to have a leg amputated as a result of a fall some years earlier, yet she soldiered on, treading the boards with one wooden leg. Her actual farewell tour, in 1916-1918, got her out of war-torn Europe, and yet she did her part for the cause in that the one-act play she performed on the vaudeville bill was a patriotic piece titled From the Theatre to the Field of Honor. Undoubtedly, Camille (The Lady of the Camelias) by Alexandre Dumas, fils, was her most popular play with American audiences, for the play had become familiar to them in English. But she usually brought several of her costume melodramas. In 1901, when she toured with Constant Coquelin, she played a breeches role, the title character in Edmond Rostand's L'Aiglon.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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  • BERNHARDT, SARAH — (Rosine Bernard; 1844–1923), French actress. Fathered by a Frenchman (Edouard Bernard), she was the eldest of three illegitimate daughters born to Judith Van Hard, a Dutch Jewish music teacher. When Sarah was ten years old she was sent to the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — orig. Henriette Rosine Bernard born Oct. 22/23, 1844, Paris, France died March 26, 1923, Paris French actress. The illegitimate child of a courtesan, she was encouraged to pursue a theatrical career by one of her mother s lovers, the duke de… …   Universalium

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    Actress. Born Henriette Rosine Bernard, Sarah Bernhardt was probably the greatest stage actress of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Born of French and Dutch Jewish parents, she was sent to a convent school and… …   Guide to cinema

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    Actress. Born Henriette Rosine Bernard, Sarah Bernhardt was probably the greatest stage actress of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Born of French and Dutch Jewish parents, she was sent to a convent school and… …   Historical Dictionary of French Cinema

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    actor    Born Rosine Bernard in Paris, sarah Bernhardt, one of the most celebrated actors of her time, made her debut at the comédie française. After acting there, she founded her own company and toured in many countries. At home,… …   France. A reference guide from Renaissance to the Present

  • Bernhardt,Sarah — Bern·hardt (bûrnʹhärt , bĕr närʹ), Sarah. Originally Henrietta Rosine Bernard. Known as “the Divine Sarah.” 1844 1923. Library of Congress French actress. Considered the romantic and tragic actress of her day, she first achieved fame for her… …   Universalium

  • Bernhardt, Sarah —  (1844–1923) French actress, called the Divine Sarah ; born Henriette Rosine Bernard …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — (1844 1923)    French actress. She was baptized at an early age. She began her career at the Comedie Francaise in 1862; in 1866 she joined the Odeon theatre. In 1872 she returned to the Comedie Francaise and later toured Europe, the United States …   Dictionary of Jewish Biography

  • Bernhardt, Sarah — ► (1844 1923) Seudónimo de Henriette Rosine Bernard, actriz francesa de origen judío. Debutó en la Comédie Française. * * * orig. Henriette Rosine Bernard (22/23 oct. 1844, París, Francia–26 mar. 1923, París). Actriz francesa. Hija ilegítima de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BERNHARDT, SARAH —    a dramatic artiste, born in Paris; of Jewish descent, but baptized as a Christian; distinguished specially as a tragédienne; of abilities qualifying her to shine in other departments of the profession and of art, of which she has given proof;… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia