Helen Raymond

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Helen Raymond (September 3, 1878 – November 26, 1965) was a stage actress who did comedy roles on Broadway, and also appeared in Hollywood motion pictures. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Stage Actress[edit]

Her introduction to Broadway came in 1915 in Very Good Eddie. She traveled to London, England during World War I and appeared at the Apollo Theatre. Raymond attained more success than previous Americans who performed on the British stage. In England she recreated her original role of Signora Monte in Twin Beds, for which she gained fame on Broadway. The name of the play was changed to Be Careful, Baby after the English censor was shocked when it was performed. A number of the lines were deleted along with portions of the lingerie display. Helen had been recruited by British play managers, George Grossmith, Jr. and Edward Laurillard, to import her Twin Beds character.

The actress obtained a special passport from the English Secretary of State for Employment to enter England following the outbreak of World War I. To participate in productions there Helen had to endure the submarine threat and air raids. She made many court appearances while in Europe for royalty and gave benefits for wounded soldiers. One of her most treasured possessions was a medal presented to her by the Queen of Belgium for her work among Belgian war heroes. Another was a hand-embroidered handkerchief made for Raymond by Queen Carmen Sylva.

Helen's final appearance in a Broadway production was as Eulalie Mackecknie Shinn in The Music Man, from 1957-1960. She was also featured in Anything Goes (1934) and One Touch of Venus (1943). She performed with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera at the Jones Beach Marine Theater and the St. Louis, Missouri Municipal Opera.

In the summer of 1942, Helen created the role of the Wicked Witch of the West, at The Municipal Opera Association of St. Louis, in the first ever stage production of The Wizard of Oz to use the songs from the 1939 MGM film. Evelyn Wyckoff played Dorothy Gale, Donald Burr played the Tin Man, Edmund Dorsey played the Cowardly Lion, Lee Dixon played the Scarecrow, Patricia Bowman played the Sorceress of the North, aka Glinda, and John Cherry played the Wizard of Oz.

Movies and Television[edit]

Miss Raymond made her first motion picture in 1920. The feature, Dangerous To Men, starred Viola Dana and Milton Sills. She next starred as Mary Pickford's maid in Through the Back Door (1921). Helen acted in twelve films in altogether, the final one being The Huntress, in 1923. She appeared in an episode of the TV series, Producers Showcase, in 1955, entitled The Women.

Death[edit]

Helen Raymond died at the Lynwood Nursing Home, 306 West 102nd Street, New York, New York, in 1965. She had previously lived at 610 Cathedral Parkway.

References[edit]

  • The Los Angeles Times, Actress Here With Foreign Laurels, March 28, 1920, Page III 1.
  • The New York Times, Helen Raymond Is Dead; A Broadway Comedienne, November 29, 1965, Page 35.

External links[edit]