Maude Fealy (March 4, 1883 -
November 9, 1971) was an American stage and film
Maude Mary Hawk on March 4, 1883, Memphis,
Tennessee, the daughter of actress and acting coach, Margaret
Fealy. Her mother remarried to Rafaello Cavallo, the
first conductor of the Pueblo,
Orchestra, and Maude lived in Colorado off and on
for most of her life. At the age of three, she performed on stage
with her mother and went on to make her Broadway debut in the
1900 production of Quo Vadis, again with her
mother. Between 1902 and 1905, she frequently toured
with Sir Henry Irving's company in the
Kingdom and by 1907 was the star in touring productions in
the United States.
Denver, she met a
drama critic from a local newspaper named Hugo Louis
The two married in secret because, as they
expected, her domineering mother did not approve. The marriage soon
ended in separation and a 1909 divorce following which she
immediately married actor James Peter Durkin. That marriage also
ended in divorce in 1917, and Fealy became involved in a lesbian
love affair with actress Eva Le Gallienne
. It was short lived, and
soon after this Fealy married again to James E. Cort. This third
marriage also ended in a 1923 annulment and would be her last.
Rumors indicate that Fealy was lesbian, but that has never been
confirmed beyond a doubt.
Career and Retirement
Maude Fealy appeared in her first silent
in 1911 for Thanhouser
, making another eighteen between then and 1917, after
which she did not perform in film for another fourteen years.
During the summers of 1912 and 1913 she organized and starred with
the Fealy-Durkin Company that put on performances at the Casino
Theatre at Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver and the following year
began touring the western half of the U.S.
Fealy had some commercial success as a playwright-performer. She
co-wrote "The Red Cap" with Grant Stewart, a noted New York
playwright and performer, which ran at the National Theatre in
Chicago in August of 1928. Though Fealy was not in the cast of that
production, the play's plot revolves around the invention of a
wheeled luggage carrier ostensibly invented by Maude herself. A
newspaper article reporting on the invention may be genuine, or may
be a publicity stunt created to promote the play. Other plays
authored or co-authored by Fealy include "At Midnight," and, with
Alice Gerstenberg, "The Promise."
Throughout her career, Fealy taught acting in many cities where she
lived; early on with her mother, under names which included Maude
Fealy Studio of Speech, Fealy School of Stage and Screen Acting,
Fealy School of Dramatic Expression, . She taught in Grand
Rapids, Michigan; Burbank, California; and Denver, Colorado.
By the 1930s, she was living in Los Angeles where she became involved in the Federal Theatre Project and at age
50 returned to secondary roles in film, including an uncredited
appearance in "The Ten Commandments."
Later in her career,
she wrote and appeared in pageants, programs, and presented
lectures for schools and community organizations.
Maude Fealy died in 1971 at the age of eighty eight at the Motion
Picture Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills,
California and was interred in the Abbey of the Psalms
Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.