NYPL Digital Collection
April 30, 1903|
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||July 29, 1985
Patterson, New York, U.S.
|Spouse||Lewis Arthur Cushman, Jr.|
Martha-Bryan Allen (April 30, 1903 – July 29, 1985), was an American 1920s stage actress who chose matrimony over a promising Broadway career.
Life and career
Martha-Bryan Allen (also known as Martha Bryan-Allen), was born on April 30, 1903, to Bryan H. and Rebecca D. Allen of Louisville, Kentucky. Her father was the treasurer of a local electric company. Allen’s sister Elizabeth, also an actress, was the first wife of film star Robert Montgomery and the mother of Bewitched’s Elizabeth Montgomery.
Allen attended classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City before making her Broadway debut on January 9, 1922, playing Angelica in Leonid Andreyev’s He Who Gets Slapped. Two months later she played the envoy’s daughter in Bernard Shaw's Back to Methuselah, and following year, Essie in another Bernard Shaw production, The Devil’s Disciple. She played Lucy Blake in Gypsy Jim, a three-act play by Oscar Hammerstein and Milton Herbert Gropper, Appolonia Lee in Sophie Treadwell’s O, Nightingale, and Myrtle Carey in The Carolinian by Rafael Sabatini and J. Harold Terry. In 1925 Allen was chosen to play the title role in John B. Hymer and Le Roy Clemens’ Aloma of the South Seas, but was replaced by Vivienne Osborne shortly before the play’s New York debut. By the year's end she would find success playing the circus entertainer Dora in René Fauchois' hit play, The Monkey Talks.
Shortly after her marriage in 1926 to Lewis Arthur Cushman, Jr. (1898–1963), Allen chose to retire from the stage. Cushman was the founder of the American Bakeries Company, whose genesis was Cushman Bakeries, a company started by his father.
Allen died on July 29, 1985 at her residence in Patterson, New York. She was survived by her daughter and was preceded in death by her husband and a son.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Martha-Bryan Allen.|
- Martha B. Cushman, Passenger Manifest SS Sameria August 30, 1926, Ancestry.com
- Martha Cushman, April 30, 1903 July, 1985 - Patterson, Putnam, New York - Social Security Death Index - Ancestry.com
- Martha Allen, Louisville, KY, 1910 US Census, Ancestry.com
- Elizabeth Montgomery – Internet Movie Database accessed June 10, 2012
- Martha-Bryan Allen papers, 1924-1925. New York Public Library accessed June 10, 2012
- Martha-Bryan Allen – Internet Broadway Database accessed June 10, 2012
- Martha-Bryan Allen papers,( Aloma of the South Seas) 1924-1925. New York Public Library accessed June 10, 2012
- Martha Cushman 1930 US Census, Ancestry.com
- L. Arthur Cushman - Patterson Through the Years accessed June 10, 2012
- Obituary, Cushman, Martha Bryan Allen, The New York Times; July 30, 1985; pg. A30