Ellis, Edith

(1876-1960)
   Born in Coldwater, Michigan, into a Chicago-based theatrical family, Edith Ellis toured with her parents and was on stage from the age of three. Soon she was billed as "Little Edith, the Rising Star," and had plays written to feature her. She wrote her own first play, A Batch of Blunders (1897), to rescue the company with which she and her brother Edward Ellis were touring when it was stranded on the road by the management. After she married Frank A. Baker, they leased two theatres in Brooklyn, where she acted and directed under the name Edith Baker. In 1903, she took her own play The Point of View to the Berkeley Lyceum in New York. After her husband's death in 1907, she resumed her maiden name and focused on playwriting. Bzowski lists 59 plays by Ellis. Her most successful was Mary Jane's Pa (1908), which starred Henry E. Dixey, ran for 89 performances in New York, and had a long life on the road. Others were Seven Sisters (1911), which starred Laurette Taylor, The Devil's Garden (1915), and White Collars (1924). She married C. Beecher Furness, a Canadian. Her later work included screenplays and books about the afterlife. This prolific American playwright should not be confused with the British dramatist Edith Ellis (1861-1916), author of three one-acts, who was married to Havelock Ellis.
   See also child performers.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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