Eugenie Besserer

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Eugenie Besserer
Eugenie Besserer 01.JPG
Who’s Who in the Film World, 1914
Born (1868-12-25)December 25, 1868
Watertown, New York, U.S.
Died May 28, 1934(1934-05-28) (aged 65)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1910–1933
Spouse(s) Albert W. Hegger (1885–1934; her death)

Eugenie Besserer (December 25, 1868 – May 28, 1934) was an American actress who starred in silent films and features of the early sound motion picture era, beginning in 1910.

Orphan in Canada[edit]

Born in Watertown, New York of French Canadian parents, she was taken by her parents to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada as a girl and spent her childhood there. She was left an orphan and escaped from her guardians at the age of twelve. She came to New York City and arrived at Grand Central Station with only 25 cents (Canadian currency) in her pocket. She managed to locate a former governess, with the assistance of a street car conductor, who helped Eugenie locate an uncle, with whom she lived. She continued her education.

Theater and motion picture player[edit]

Besserer's initial theatrical experience came with McKee Rankin when the producer had for a star, Nance O'Neill. Soon she appeared with stage luminaries like Frank Keenan and Wilton Lackaye. As a youth she played a juvenile part with Maurice Barrymore. She performed a season at Pike's Opera House in Portland Oregon. Another season Eugenie acted in a drama opposite Henry Kolker. The actress came to Hollywood in 1910 when films were just starting to be made there.

The illness of her sister brought her to the west coast. In motion pictures Eugenie was usually cast in mother roles, most famously as mother of the Al Jolson character in The Jazz Singer ("Mammy"). Eugenie became associated with the Selig Polyscope Company. A significant part for the actress was her role as Aunt Ray Innis in The Circular Staircase (1915), based on the novel by Mary Roberts Rinehart.

Domestic life[edit]

She shared a home with her husband, Albert W. Hegger, an art dealer, from the time she came to Los Angeles. They lived in a hilltop home above Silver Lake. It's unclear if the pair had children.

Death[edit]

Eugenie Besserer died in 1934, aged 65, from a heart attack at her home. Having married Hegger when she was a teenager, the couple were due to celebrate their golden wedding anniversary in 1935.[citation needed] A funeral mass was held at St. Theresa's Church, with a rosary service at Edwards Brothers Colonial Mortuary, Venice Boulevard, in Los Angeles, California. She is buried in Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles.

Filmography[edit]

The Sacrifice (1916)

1930s[edit]

  • To the Last Man (1933) .... Granny Spelvin
  • Six Hours to Live (1932) (uncredited) .... Undetermined Role
  • Scarface (1932) (uncredited) .... Citizens Committee member
  • Du Barry, Woman of Passion (1930) (uncredited) .... Rosalie/Prison Matron
  • In Gay Madrid (1930) (as Eugenia Besserer) .... Doña Generosa
  • A Royal Romance (1930) .... Mother

1920s[edit]

  • Seven Faces (1929) .... Madame Vallon
  • Mister Antonio (1929) .... Mrs. Jorny
  • Illusion (1929) .... Mrs. Jacob Schmittlap
  • Fast Company (1929) .... Mrs. Kane
  • Speedway (1929) .... Mrs. MacDonald
  • Whispering Winds (1929) .... Jim's Mother
  • Madame X (1929) .... Rose, Floriot's Servant
  • Thunderbolt (1929) .... Mrs. Morgan
  • The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1929) .... A nun
  • A Lady of Chance (1928) .... Mrs. 'Ma' Crandall
  • Lilac Time (1928) .... Madame Berthelot
  • Yellow Lily (1928) .... Archduchess
  • Two Lovers (1928) .... Madame Van Rycke
  • Drums of Love (1928) .... Duchess de Alvia
  • The Jazz Singer (1927) .... Sara Rabinowitz
  • Slightly Used (1927) .... Aunt Lydia
  • Captain Salvation (1927) .... Mrs. Buxom
  • When a Man Loves (1927) .... The Landlady
  • The Night of Love (1927) (uncredited) .... Gypsy
  • Wandering Girls (1927) .... Peggy's Mother
  • Flesh and the Devil (1926) .... Leo's Mother
  • The Fire Brigade (1926) .... Mrs.O'Neil
  • The Millionaire Policeman (1926) .... Mrs. Gray
  • Winning the Futurity (1926) .... Mary Allen
  • Kiki (1926) (uncredited) .... Landlady
  • The Skyrocket (1926) .... Wardrobe Mistress
  • Bright Lights (1925) .... Patsy's mom
  • Wandering Footsteps (1925) .... Elizabeth Stuyvesant Whitney
  • The Circle (1925) .... Lady Catherine "Kitty" Cheney
  • The Coast of Folly (1925) .... Nanny
  • Confessions of a Queen (1925) .... Elanora
  • Friendly Enemies (1925)
  • A Fool and His Money (1925) .... Mother
  • The Price She Paid (1924) .... Mrs. Elton Gower
  • Bread (1924) .... Mrs. Sturgis
  • Enemies of Children (1923)
  • Anna Christie (1923) .... Marthy
  • The Rendezvous (1923) .... Nini
  • Her Reputation (1923) .... Madame Cervanez
  • The Lonely Road (1923) .... Martha True
  • The Strangers' Banquet (1922) .... Mrs. McPherson
  • June Madness (1922) .... Mrs. Whitmore
  • The Hands of Nara (1922) .... Mrs. Claveloux
  • Kindred of the Dust (1922) .... Mrs. McKaye
  • Penrod (1922)
  • The Rosary (1922) .... Widow Kathleen Wilson
  • The Light in the Clearing (1921)
  • Molly O' (1921) .... Antonia Bacigalupi
  • The Sin of Martha Queed (1921) .... Alicia Queed
  • Good Women (1921) .... Mrs. Emmeline Shelby
  • The Breaking Point (1921) .... Mrs. Janeway
  • What Happened to Rosa (1920) .... Madame O'Donnelly
  • The Scoffer (1920) .... Boorman's Wife
  • 45 Minutes from Broadway (1920) .... Mrs. David Dean
  • Seeds of Vengeance (1920) .... Judith Cree
  • Fickle Women (1920) .... Mrs. Price
  • The Brand of Lopez (1920) .... Señora Castillo
  • For the Soul of Rafael (1920) .... Dona Luisa
  • The Gift Supreme (1920) .... Martha Vinton
  • The Fighting Shepherdess (1920) .... Jezebel

1910s[edit]

  • The Greatest Question (1919) .... Mrs. Hilton
  • Scarlet Days (1919) .... Rosie Nell
  • Turning the Tables (1919) .... Mrs. Feverill
  • Ravished Armenia (1919)
  • The Sea Flower (1918) .... Kealani
  • The Road Through the Dark (1918) .... Aunt Julie
  • The Eyes of Julia Deep (1918) .... Mrs. Lowe
  • A Hoosier Romance (1918) .... The Squire's Wife
  • The Still Alarm (1918) .... Undetermined Role
  • The City of Purple Dreams (1918)
  • Little Orphant Annie (1918) .... Mrs. Goode
  • Who Shall Take My Life? (1917) .... Mrs. Munroe
  • The Curse of Eve (1917) .... The Mother
  • The Witness for the State (1917)
  • Her Salvation (1917)
  • Little Lost Sister (1917) .... Mrs. Welcome
  • The Crisis (1917) .... Mrs. Brice
  • Beware of Strangers (1917) .... Mary DeLacy
  • In After Years (1917)
  • The Garden of Allah (1916) .... Lady Rens
  • Twisted Trails (1916) .... Martha, Housekeeper
  • The Temptation of Adam (1916)
  • The Woman Who Did Not Care (1916)
  • A Social Deception (1916)
  • The Grinning Skull (1916)
  • Thou Shalt Not Covet (1916) .... My Wife
  • The Devil-in-Chief (1916)
  • I'm Glad My Boy Grew Up to Be a Soldier (1915) .... Mrs. Warrington
  • Just as I Am (1915)
  • The Bridge of Time (1915)
  • The Circular Staircase (1915) .... Aunt Ray
  • The Rosary (1915) .... Widow Kelly
  • Ingratitude of Liz Taylor (1915)
  • The Carpet from Bagdad (1915) .... Mrs. Chedsoye
  • Poetic Justice of Omar Khan (1915)
  • The Vision of the Shepherd (1915)
  • The Story of the Blood Red Rose (1914) .... Queen of Urania
  • The Tragedy That Lived (1914)
  • Hearts and Masks (1914)
  • Ye Vengeful Vagabonds (1914)
  • The Man in Black (1914)
  • His Fight (1914)
  • Me an' Bill (1914)
  • The Fire Jugglers (1914)
  • The Salvation of Nance O'Shaughnessy (1914)
  • Elizabeth's Prayer (1914) .... Hilda Crosby, An Unscrupulous Actress
  • Memories (1914) .... Mary, Professor Scott's Sweetheart
  • The Master of the Garden (1913)
  • Phantoms (1913) .... Natalie Storm
  • The Probationer (1913) .... Granny
  • Fate Fashions a Letter (1913)
  • The Acid Test (1913)
  • The Unseen Defense (1913)
  • In God We Trust (1913)
  • The Fighting Lieutenant (1913)
  • Woman: Past and Present (1913) .... Grandmother America
  • A Flag of Two Wars (1913)
  • The Girl and the Judge (1913)
  • Wamba, a Child of the Jungle (1913)
  • Indian Summer (1913)
  • Lieutenant Jones (1913)
  • In the Days of Witchcraft (1913)
  • Dollar Down, Dollar a Week (1913)
  • Love Before Ten (1913) .... Mrs. Walters
  • Diverging Paths (1913)
  • The Spanish Parrot Girl (1913) .... Mrs. Avery
  • The Governor's Daughter (1913)
  • The Ne'er to Return Road (1913)
  • The Last of Her Tribe (1912)
  • Sammy Orpheus; or, The Pied Piper of the Jungle (1912)
  • The Millionaire Vagabonds (1912) .... Mrs. Knobhill
  • Opitsah: Apache for Sweetheart (1912)
  • The Vintage of Fate (1912)
  • Old Songs and Memories (1912)
  • His Wedding Eve (1912)
  • Monte Cristo (short) (1912) .... Mercedes
  • The Substitute Model (1912)
  • The Indelible Stain (1912)
  • Sergeant Byrne of the Northwest Mounted Police (1912)
  • The Little Indian Martyr (1912)
  • His Masterpiece (1912)
  • The Lake of Dreams (1912)
  • In Exile (1912)
  • A Child of the Wilderness (1912)
  • The Hand of Fate (1912)
  • The End of the Romance (1912) .... Alice Gray
  • Me an' Bill (1912)
  • The Junior Officer (1912)
  • As Told by Princess Bess (1912)
  • The Danites (1912)
  • Disillusioned (1912)
  • Bunkie (1912)
  • The Cowboy's Adopted Child (1912)
  • George Warrington's Escape (1911) .... Madame Esmond Warrington
  • An Evil Power (1911)
  • The Bootlegger (1911)
  • Old Billy (1911)
  • The Blacksmith's Love (1911)
  • The Regeneration of Apache Kid (1911)
  • Their Only Son (1911)
  • Slick's Romance (1911)
  • The Profligate (1911)
  • It Happened in the West (1911) .... Prologue
  • The Craven Heart (1911)
  • A Sacrifice to Civilization (1911)
  • One of Nature's Noblemen (1911)
  • Stability vs. Nobility (1911)
  • The Still Alarm (1911)
  • The Mother (1911)
  • The Other Fellow (1911)
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) - Aunt Em

References[edit]

  • The Los Angeles Times, "Eugenie Besserer Dead", May 31, 1934, p. A2
  • The Monessen, Pennsylvania Daily Independent, "Miss Eugenie Besserer Arrived In New York City With Just 25 Cents-Now A Star In Pictures", September 16, 1915, p. 3

External links[edit]