Day 186 of Colourisation Project – November 9
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
With looks that defied her age, American actress, Maude Fealy, known for her great beauty and acting talent, was probably the most photographed actress of her era. Her youthful, pre-Raphaelite looks made Fealy a popular subject for postcards, which at the turn of the century were an international craze.
According to Picture Postcards in the United States by George and Dorothy Miller, official United States Post Office figures for the year ending June 30, 1908 cited 667,777,798 postcards mailed in the United States and by 1913 the total had reached over 968,000,000.
Theatre and music hall stars were popular subjects for postcard collections. Maude Fealy’s were a particular standout becoming popular very quickly. Today they are much sought after collectors items. There are several websites dedicated purely to Maude Fealy postcards collections.
Fealy’s photogenic beauty casts a spellbinding effect over the viewer. There is a plethora of photos of Maude Fealy on the internet and they all seem to possess that same magnetic allure. She knew how to work the camera and the camera obviously loved her.
Born in 1883 in Memphis, Tennessee, Maude Fealy was an American stage and silent film actress who had some commercial success as a playwright-performer and after the advent of talkies taught acting in several cities throughout the US.
Her mother Margaret Fealy, was also an actress and acting coach and had her daughter performing on stage at the age of three along side her. Fealy made her Broadway debut aged 17 in the 1900 production of Quo Vadis, (again with her mother). Fealy toured throughout the United Kingdom and the US appearing mostly on the stage.
Between 1911 and 1917 she made 18 silent films, after which she did not perform in film for another fourteen years. Acting was clearly in the blood though she made very few talking pictures, she is said to have appeared in nearly all of Cecile B. DeMille’s talking pictures albeit in minor roles up until 1956, including the director’s last film The Ten Commandments.
She officially retired in 1957, but remained active in the theater throughout her life either performing or teaching.
Maude Fealy died in her sleep on this day, November 9, 1971, aged 88 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.
Her funeral expenses were paid by the estate of Cecil B. DeMille, who died years earlier in 1959 but left a provision in his will for such expenses when they were needed.
“Actors never give up acting; it gives them up.” – Maude Fealy