Bothwell Browne

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Bothwell Browne in 1908

Bothwell Browne (born Walter Bothwell Bruhn; 1877 – 1947) was a Danish-American stage and film performer, best known as a female impersonator.

Born in Copenhagen, Browne grew up in San Francisco [1] and developed a vaudeville act. At one point he was performing as a duo with male impersonator Kathleen Clifford.[2] He was in New York by 1908, when the New York Times reports him as suing Texas Guinan over the rights to a Gibson Girl stage act.

Deliberately or not, Browne competed with the better-known female impersonator Julian Eltinge. Some audiences, and theater managers, found his act more seductive and therefore more unsettling than Eltinge.[3] Browne's Broadway production Miss Jack opened in September 1911 at the Herald Square Theater, exactly one week before Eltinge's more successful The Fascinating Widow.

Browne's only film appearance is the 1919 Mack Sennett production Yankee Doodle in Berlin, Sennett's highest-budget film up to that point, and a bit of World War I propaganda. This release was parallel to Eltinge's own anti-German film Over the Rhine, (which was re-cut into The Isle of Love three years later).

The same year Browne appeared as the headliner at the Palace Theater in New York, the single most sought-after booking in American vaudeville, in December 1919,[4] supported on stage by the Sennett Bathing Beauties. This appears to be the pinnacle of his career. He thereafter retired to teach dancing classes in San Francisco, and died in Los Angeles.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://fan.tcm.com/_Bothwell-Browne-a-drag-queen-of-the-Silents/blog/3170269/66470.html
  2. ^ Vaudeville old & new: an encyclopedia of variety performances in ..., Volume 1 By Frank Cullen, Florence Hackman, Donald McNeilly, page 150
  3. ^ Vaudeville old & new: an encyclopedia of variety performances in ..., Volume 1 By Frank Cullen, Florence Hackman, Donald McNeilly, page 150
  4. ^ Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, Anthony Slide, page 69