Grace La Rue

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Grace La Rue
Grace Larue 1913.jpg
Born Stella Parsons
(1882-04-23)April 23, 1882
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died March 13, 1956(1956-03-13) (aged 75)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Spouse(s) Charles Burke
Byron "The Millionaire Kid" Chandler(1909-1914)
Hale Hamilton (1920-?His death)

Grace La Rue (April 23, 1882 - March 13, 1956) was an American actress, singer, and Vaudeville headliner.

Early life[edit]

Stella Grace La Rue was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1882 to Mrs. Lucy L. Parsons. La Rue was a stage name, more exotic than her original surname of Parsons.[1] She began her career as part of the team Burke and La Rue, with her first husband Charles Burke. One of their numbers was a minstrel piece entitled "Grace La Rue and her Inky Dinks". She soon broke away from the act - and Burke - to appear in musical comedy.

Career[edit]

La Rue performed in a number of productions on Broadway debuting in The Tourists in 1906. She also appeared in The Blue Moon (1906), Molly May (1910), Betsy (1911), and the 1907 and 1908 Ziegfeld Follies. In 1909, she married Byron (The Millionaire Kid) Chandler in Bennington, Vermont.[2] The marriage broke up in 1914 when La Rue left the relationship, alleging that Chandler was unfaithful and that he beat her.[3]

La Rue made her debut as a Vaudeville single act in November 1912 at Poli's in Springfield, Missouri. As part of the act she sang an aria from Madame Butterfly, and a duet with a phonograph recording of Enrico Caruso. Variety gave her a good review commenting that the act gave La Rue the "opportunity to display her Parisian cultivated voice."[4]

La Rue made her debut at the Palace Theatre on August 4, 1913. Her act featured the song "You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want to Do It)", from the show Honeymoon Express, a musical she had appeared in with Al Jolson. Later that year, she brought her Vaudeville act to Britain, appearing at the London Palace on August 4, 1913.

In 1919, La Rue made her screen debut opposite American stage and film actor Hale Hamilton in the melodrama That's Good. She married Hamilton on May 29, 1920, amid a whirl of controversy surrounding a lawsuit filed by Hamilton's first wife.[5]

In 1922-23, La Rue appeared in Irving Berlin's second Music Box Revue at the Music Box in New York. In 1924, she appeared at the Coliseum in London with Hamilton. For the rest of the decade she worked mainly in the United States alternating between Vaudeville and in musical comedies and revues. One of her last big time appearances was in the 1928 Greenwich Village Follies at the Winter Garden in New York. She appeared in a 1929 Vitaphone short called Grace La Rue: The International Star of Song. By the early 1930s, she had retired to California, where she made a brief appearance in the 1933 Mae West film She Done Him Wrong. Grace La Rue died in Burlingame, California on March 13, 1956.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Grace La Rue, Kansas City Vaudeville Actress, Weds in London Kansas City Journal. June 9, 1909
  2. ^ Vermont Marriage Records, 1909-2008 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
  3. ^ Chandler in Hands of Sheriff's Men New York Times, April 8, 1914.
  4. ^ Variety, November 24, 1912
  5. ^ New York Times. June 1, 1920 p.15

External links[edit]