Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter
Cora Brown-Potter 1895.jpg
Mary Cora Urquhart

(1857-05-15)May 15, 1857
DiedFebruary 12, 1936(1936-02-12) (aged 78)
Other namesMrs. Brown-Potter
Spouse(s)James Brown Potter (m.1877–div.1900)
ChildrenMrs. Fowler McCormick

Mary Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter (May 15, 1857 – February 12, 1936) was one of the first American society women to become a stage actress.[1]


Mary Cora Urquhart was born on May 15, 1857 in New Orleans,[2] the eldest of three daughters and a son raised by David and Augusta (née Slocomb) Urquhart.[3] Her father was a merchant and her mother the daughter of a hardware merchant.[4]

She married financier James Brown Potter of Brown Bros. & Co., the son of Howard Cranston Potter in 1877 in New Orleans and they had a daughter, Anne, in 1879.[5]

They visited England in 1886 where they met the Prince of Wales and were subsequently invited to spend the weekend with him. James returned to the United States alone following the visit as Cora remained in England to pursue a career on stage. She made her stage debut in 1887 at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in the play Civil War. Later that year she started a successful partnership with Harold Kyrle Bellew at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in the New York production of Civil War.[1] She and Bellew toured the world and starred together for the next ten years.[1]

Cora Urquhart Potter (1895)

In 1889, she played the role of Cleopatra and launched "a mania for Egyptian styles."[6]

She divorced Potter on June 4, 1900.[7] Her ex-husband would remarry in 1904.[5] She continued to use her married name as her stage name.

Her last appearance on the London stage was in 1912. She made a further stage appearance in 1919 for a benefit production in Guernsey. In addition to her stage career she helped to raise money for war charities during the Second Boer War.[1]


She died on February 12, 1936, aged 78, at her villa in Beaulieu-sur-Mer.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Don Gillan (
  2. ^ Mary Cora Urquhart - New Orleans, Louisiana Birth Records Index, 1790-1899],; accessed June 18, 2015.
  3. ^ 1870 US Census Records for David Urquhart (
  4. ^ Deshler Welch . The Theatre, Volume 2, p. 377
  5. ^ a b "J. Brown Potter To Marry. Will Wed Miss Handy In Richmond To-Day. News A Surprise". The New York Times. September 28, 1904. Retrieved 2013-01-06. James Brown Potter of New York and Miss May Handy of this city will be married here to-morrow afternoon very quietly. Miss Handy is said to be the most beautiful woman in Virginia. ... James Brown Potter obtained an absolute divorce from Cora Urquhart Potter, the actress, in the Supreme Court at Newport, Rhode Island on June 4, 1900. The charges were desertion for more than five years and living apart for more than ten years. ... Mr. Potter and Cora Urquhart were married in New Orleans in 1877. Ten years later Mrs. Potter announced that she was going on the stage, with or without her husband's consent.
  6. ^ Parramore, L. Reading the Sphinx: Ancient Egypt in Nineteenth-Century Literary Culture, p. 39.
  7. ^ "Divorce For J. B. Potter. Husband of Cora Urquhart Potter Secures Absolute Decree. Charges Willful Desertion. Letters Show Actress Would Adopt Stage Career Despite His Wishes. Her Hatred of the Potters". The New York Times. June 5, 1900. Retrieved 2013-01-06. In the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court this afternoon was heard the petition of James Brown Potter for an absolute divorce from his wife, Cora Urquhart Potter, the actress, on the ground of willful desertion. After considerable testimony had been introduced by Mr. Potter's counsel, Col. Honey, the decree was granted, there being no defense, much to the disappointment of the crowd in court.
  8. ^ "Mrs. Cora Potter Dies". Chicago Tribune. February 13, 1936. Retrieved 2010-11-23. Mrs. Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter, famous actress from 1887 to 1912, and mother of Mrs. Fowler [Fifi] McCormick of Barrington, Ill., and New York, died today in her villa at Beaulieu, after a week's illness. She was 76 (sic) years old.

External links[edit]