Camille Clifford

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Camille Clifford
Camille Clifford 2.jpg
Camille Clifford, the quintessential Gibson Girl.
Born Camilla Antoinette Clifford
(1885-06-29)29 June 1885
Antwerp, Belgium
Died 28 June 1971(1971-06-28) (aged 85)
Years active 1902-1906, c1915-c1918
Spouse(s) Henry Lyndhurst Bruce (1906-1914)
John Meredyth Jones Evans (1917-1957)

Camilla Antoinette Clifford (29 June 1885 – 28 June 1971) was a Belgian-born stage actress and the most famous model for the "Gibson Girl" illustrations. Her towering coiffure and hourglass figure defined the Gibson Girl style.

Biography[edit]

Clifford was born on 29 June 1885 in Antwerp, Belgium to Reynold Clifford and Matilda Ottersen. Camille was raised in Sweden, Norway and Boston.[1] In the early 1900s she won US$2000 in a magazine contest sponsored by illustrator Charles Dana Gibson to find a living version of his Gibson Girl drawings: his ideal woman.[2] Clifford became an actress, performing in the United States from 1902 and in England from 1904. She returned from London to Boston on 3 July 1906.[3] While only playing walk-on, non-speaking roles, Clifford became famous nonetheless: not for her talent, but for her beauty. Her trademark style was a long, elegant gown wrapped around her tightly corseted, eighteen-inch wasp waist.

She retired from the stage and married Captain the Honourable Henry Lyndhurst Bruce in 1906. They had one child, Margaret, but the child died five days after birth. Her first husband was killed during The Great War in 1914.[4]

She made a brief return to the stage after the death of her first husband. Then in 1917, married Captain John Meredyth Jones Evans. After the war she left the stage for good and later owned a stable of successful racehorses.[5] Her second husband died in 1957.[6]

She died on 28 June 1971.

Legacy[edit]

Despite her reputation as "the quintessential Gibson Girl", she was by no means the only person to pose for the popular character.[7]

Photographs of her taken by Lizzie Caswall Smith in 1905 often appear in historical fashion books and on websites to illustrate the Edwardian style.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gillan, Don. "Camille Clifford Biography". www.stagebeauty.net. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  2. ^ "The Prince Of Pilsen: The People In The Piece". The Play Pictorial XXII (IV): 144. August 1904. Retrieved 2009-07-27. "Among the players of minor parts is Miss Camille Clifford, who recently achieved considerable celebrity by winning a prize of 2,000 dollars given by an American journal to the lady who hsould be decided to be the most representative New York girl according to the famous Dana Gibson pattern." 
  3. ^ "FREE Port of New York Passenger Records Search". ellisisland.org. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  4. ^ Stolberg, Charles (7 August 1915). "War's Toll Upon Famous Families". The New York Evening Post. Retrieved 2009-07-27. "Captain the Hon. Henry Lyndhurst Bruse, husband of Camille Clifford, the so-called original "Gibson Girl," was killed at Ypres in December, while (serving) with the Royal Scots." 
  5. ^ Gillan, Don. "Camille Clifford Biography". www.stagebeauty.net. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  6. ^ "A genealogical survey of the peerage of Britain as well as the royal families of Europe". thePeerage.com. Retrieved 2010-08-20. 
  7. ^ "Why Do They Call Me A Gibson Girl? Miss Camille Clifford Singing The Song Which Reached Miss Edna May's Heart". The Bystander XII (149): 83. 10 October 1906. Retrieved 2009-07-27.  Also see Thompson, Paul (January 1907). "Our Portraits: Phyllis Dare". The Burr McIntosh Monthly XII (47): 194. Retrieved 2009-07-27. 

External links[edit]