Daphne Pollard (19 October 1892 in Fitzroy, Melbourne – 22 February 1978 in Los Angeles) was an Australian actress in American films, mostly short comedies. She was also a vaudeville performer and dancer.
Diminutive stage star
Born as Daphne Trott, at the age of six she joined the Pollard Lilliputian Opera Company, having been taken to rehearsals by her older sister, Ivy, who was also a performer. The Pollard company featured youth performers whose ages ranged from six to sixteen years, playing light opera, operetta and musical comedy (LeCoq, Offenbach, etc). They toured Australia, New Zealand and the United States in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and were well received and highly acclaimed. From the company, Daphne Trott took her stage name..
Daphne Pollard née Trott came to Los Angeles at age 16 in July 1907. She played a role in The Bohemian Girl at the Los Angeles Theater that September, at $60/show. At the time, Pollard appeared to Humane Officers as no more than seven years of age. She looked very young because she was small and not well-developed for her age. She told officers that she was sixteen years old the previous August. (According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB), Pollard was 4'9" as an adult.)
In October 1908, Pollard came to New York City with a company. They performed musical and dramatic shows such as The Thief, The Chorus Lady, The Witching Hour, and Girls, among others. The productions were staged at the Grand Opera House. Among her fellow actors were Harry Macdonough and Charles Halton. Daphne appeared with the Ziegfeld Follies and in Winter Garden Theatre shows. In 1909, she was with a group which entertained at Keith and Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theater.
In 1914 Pollard was the petite star of The Girl Behind the Counter at the Morosco Theatre on Broadway (Manhattan). The production also featured actor Al Shean. She followed this success with performances in A Knight for a Day (1915) and The Passing Show of 1915. The latter play was staged at The Mason Theater in Los Angeles and also featured Marilyn Miller. In 1918 Pollard was in London, where she played the role of "She of the Tireless Tongue" in Albert de Courville, Dave Stamper and Gene Buck's lavishly-staged revue Zig-Zag! which ran for 648 performances at the Hippodrome. She remained with the show when it moved to the Folies Bergère in Paris at the end of the year. She returned to New York while touring with the Keith Vaudeville Circuit in 1924.
Pollard was cast in Mack Sennett girl comedy two-reel productions for the 1927–1928 season. There were four comedy units operating at once at one point on the set. Other actresses featured in the comedy shorts are Carole Lombard, Anita Barnes, Leota Winters, and Kathryn Stanley. The first title to be released was Why is a Bathing Girl?
In this movie Pollard demonstrated her talent as a dancer. (Lombard and Pollard were extremely close friends during the time they were working for Sennett. Stories of wild practical jokes have been written about over the years.) She memorably appeared in several Laurel and Hardy films of the mid-1930s, as a shrewish wife of Oliver Hardy in Thicker than Water (1935) and Our Relations (1936) and also as a maid in Bonnie Scotland (1935). Her screen credits continued into the early 1940s, again appearing briefly with Laurel and Hardy in The Dancing Masters (1943). Her final role was in Kid Dynamite (1943).
Daphne Pollard died in Los Angeles in 1978.
- Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, The Littlest Soubrette On Broadway, Sunday, 4 July 1915, Page 8.
- Los Angeles Times, Sad Hunt For Baby Actress, 29 September 1907, Page II1.
- Los Angeles Times, Bare Legs Catch Eye, 13 April 1914, Page III4.
- Los Angeles Times, Show World Review, 11 May 1916, Page II6.
- Los Angeles Times, Daphne Pollard With Sennett, 4 June 1927, Page A6.
- Los Angeles Times, Three Comedy Units Under Way At Sennett Studio, 17 July 1927, Page C11.
- New York Times, Brooklyn Amusements, 4 October 1908, Page X2.
- New York Times, Vaudeville, 18 April 1909, Page X8.
- New York Times, News And Gossip Of Vaudeville, 18 May 1924, Page X2.