Reed, Florence


Reed, Florence
(1883-1967)
   The daughter of actor-manager Roland Reed, Florence Reed was born in Philadelphia and spent a long apprenticeship in stock at New York's Fifth Avenue Theatre beginning in 1901, after which she toured as E. H. Sothern's leading lady in If I Were King and Hamlet. On her own, Reed appeared in Seven Days (1909), The Typhoon (1912), and The Master of the House (1914), but found her true niche in exotic roles, scoring her first great success as a Russian prostitute in The Yellow Ticket (1914). She also appeared in the long-running musical, Chu Chin Chow (1918) and in The Mirage (1920). Most memorably, she played the vengeful madam Mother Goddam in John B. Colton's melodrama The Shanghai Gesture (1926). Despite its success, Reed never again had a starring vehicle on Broadway, although she acted in silent motion pictures and headed national companies of Mourning Becomes Electra* and Elizabeth the Queen* before creating the role of the Fortune Teller in Thornton Wilder's* Pulitzer PRizE-winning The Skin of Our Teeth* (1942; and in the 1955 American National Theatre and Academy* revival) and she played the Nurse to Judith Anderson's* Medea in 1947.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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