Morosco, Oliver


Morosco, Oliver
(1875-1945)
   The renowned producer was born Oliver Morosco Mitchell in Logan, Utah. After performing as an acrobat in his father's troupe, he went into management in 1892 at the San Jose Theatre. By 1908, he was managing six California theatres. In 1909, he began his 20-year producing career. In 1917, after the Shuberts honored their West Coast producing ally by naming a new theatre for him, Morosco began producing in New York. He leased the Morosco Theatre from the Shuberts and opened it with Canary Cottage, which starred Trixie Friganza and marked Eddie Cantor's Broadway debut.
   Morosco's top hits were The Bird of Paradise (1912), Peg O'My Heart starring Laurette Taylor (1912), Help Wanted (1914), The Unchastened Woman (1915), So Long Letty (1916), The Cinderella Man (1916), Lombardi, Ltd. (1917), and others until 1927. He would bill his attractions as having "a typical Morosco cast," calling attention to his eye for performers who attained stardom. During the 1920s, his office on the top floor of the Morosco was legendarily well stocked with bootleg liquors, but the decade also marked his decline as he ventured into schemes outside of show business. He died with only eight cents in his pocket after being hit by a streetcar on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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