Still photo of Barlow from The Belovéd Adventurer (1914)
April 19, 1883|
St. Louis, Missouri
|Died||March 21, 1950
New York, New York
|Other names||Little Lottie Briscoe|
|Occupation||Stage and Silent Film Actress|
Lottie Briscoe (April 19, 1883 – March 21, 1950) was an American stage and silent screen actress. She began in theatre at the age of four and as an adult was among the first to find success after making the transition from the legitimate stage to cinema. Briscoe appeared in over 94 motion pictures; she is perhaps best remembered for her time at Lubin Studios with co-star Arthur V. Johnson.
Lottie Briscoe was born in St. Louis, Missouri to Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Briscoe. Her father may have been involved in theatre work and her mother was known to the theatre community as a likable stage mother. A sister, Olive Helen Briscoe, had long a career in vaudeville as a singer and comedian.  At the time of her death The New York Times reported that Briscoe was 79 years old, which is unlikely, for it is well documented that she was active as a child actor as late as 1895. A possible explanation may lie with confusion involving Briscoe’s frail husband, Harry Mountford, who at the time was 79 and had not long to live.
Briscoe first appeared on stage at the age of four, and by nine she was touring as Editha in Gus Thomas’ adaptation of Frances Burnett’s children’s story Editha’s Burglar. Three years later, in June 1895, she was engaged at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York, to play Julian Esmond in the Russ Whytal melodrama For Fair Virginia, but was replaced after just two nights when the mayor’s office determined that the weather was too hot for a child under sixteen to be working in. Briscoe eventually did return to For Fair Virginia to play Julian Esmond over a subsequent road tour that lasted well into the spring of 1897. By October 1897 Briscoe was back at the Fifth Avenue Theatre with Richard Mansfield's company as Essie in the American debut of Shaw's The Devil’s Disciple. In 1899 she toured with Walter E. Perkins playing Gertie in a farce-comedy entitled My Friend from India by Henry A. Du Souchet.
During the 1900–1901 season Briscoe assumed the role of the sickly boy Claude in a national tour of Two Little Vagrants, Charles Klein's adaptation of the Pierre Decourcelle melodrama Les Deux Gosses. The following season she began a long tour playing Asa opposite Paul Gilmore in Lost River; advertised as a pastoral melodrama by Joseph Arthur. In 1905 Briscoe toured in the Harry McRae Webster military drama Lieutenant Dick, U. S. A. playing Machita to Webster’s Sergeant Jones. At some point around this time Briscoe and Webster were married.
Around 1909 Briscoe, along with Harry McRae Webster, joined the fledgling Essanay Studios, Chicago. At least two films during this period, both one-reelers from January 1911, are known to exist today; The Sophomore’s Romance and A Sin Unpardonable. In June 1911 she played Zenia in Essanay's His Friend's Wife, remembered for Francis X. Bushman's film debut. Her peak years were with Lubin Studios in short films that often cast her with the actor-director Arthur V. Johnson. Their most ambitious project together during this period was probably The Belovéd Adventurer (1914), a 15-episode serial written by Emmett Campbell Hall. When Johnson died in January 1916, shortly after the release of their latest film, the Maie B. Hovey story The Lost Rose, Briscoe left film and did not return until 1918, and then only briefly to play Gertie Farish in The House of Mirth.
In 1919 Briscoe began a long run in vaudeville playing the title role in a domestic comedy by George Kelly entitled Mrs. Wellington's Surprise. That October 19 she was among a group of celebrities who performed at the Manhattan Opera House in a benefit on behalf of the Chelsea Memorial Association in raising funds for the Chelsea Park Memorial in Manhattan. One of a number of such memorials erected in the city during this time honoring local residents who gave their lives during the First World War. In February 1922 Briscoe signed to appear in a leading role with William Faversham in the The Squaw Man. At some point in the not too distant future serious health issues would leave Briscoe homebound for the remainder of her life.
Harry McRae Webster became a motion picture director of some note before he was sued in the early 1920s by a film studio over the unauthorized use of nude models in one of his movies. Her second husband, Harry Mountford, served as a longtime executive secretary for the White Rats actor's union.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Lottie Briscoe.|
- April 19, 1883 birthday from Doyle, Billy H. - "The Ultimate Directory of the Silent Screen Performers: A Necrology of Births and Deaths and Essays on 50 Lost Players, 1995, p. 115 Retrieved 7.6.13; census and death certificate are said to indicate an October birth
- The Hollywood Book of Death, 2001, p. 12 Retrieved 7.4.13
- Mrs. Walter D. Greene. The New York Dramatic Mirror, October 31, 1908 Retrieved 7.4.13
- Hippodrome. The Reading Eagle, September 14, 1920, p. 8 Retrieved 7.10.13
- Report, New York City Law Dept. c. 1893, p. 76 Retrieved 7.4.13
- Lottie Briscoe Dies at 79 New York Times, March 22, 1950, p. 26
- Harry Mountford. The New York Times, June 5, 1950, p. 21
- Music and the Drama. The Millwauki Journall, November 14, 1892, p. 4 Retrieved 7.9,13
- Another Little Julian. The New York Times, June 6, 1895, p. 5
- As the Crowds Come Out. The Evening Times. (Washington, D.C.), February 25, 1896, p. 6 For Fair Virginia. The Scranton Tribune, April 09, 1896, p. 5 Retrieved 7.6.13
- The Theatre. The Courier (Lincoln, Nebraska), May 22, 1897, p. 8 Retrieved 7.6.13
- Wilstach, Paul - Richard Mansfield: The Man and the Actor, 1908, p. 284 Retrieved 7.10.13
- Engagements. The New York Dramatic Mirror, July 15, 1899, p. 13 Retrieved 7.10.13
- The Local Stage. The Houston Daily Post, December 3, 1899, p. 10 Retrieved 7.10.13
- Du Souchet, Henry A. - My Friend from India Retrieved 7.10.13
- Grand Opera House Opening. Cambridge Tribune, August 11, 1900, p. 7 Retrieved 7.13.13
- At The Globe Tonight. Hamilton Daily Democrat (Hamilton, Ohio), February 9, 1901, p. 2
- Grand Opera House. The Daily Review, (Decatur, Illinois), January 17, 1902, p. 6
- Personals. The Cedar Rapids Evening Gazette, December 3, 1903, p. 3
- Music and Drama. At the Crawford. The Wichita Daily Eagle, March 12, 1904, p. 6. Retrieved 7.11.13
- The Majestic. The Washington Times, November 26, 1905, p. 5 Retrieved 7.11.13
- Essanay Chicago Films – Surviving Compiled by David Kiehn – Historian, Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum Retrieved 7.11.13
- Hall, Emmett Campbell - The Belovéd Adventurer, 1914 Retrieved 7.12.13
- Lottie Briscoe - Internet movie Database Retrieved 7.11.13
- Dancers Head Bill at Keith's This Week. Evening Public Ledger (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), August 26, 1919, p. 11 Retrieved 7.11.13
- Chelsea Memorial Benefit at the Manhattan To-Night. The New York Tribune, October 19, 1919, p. 6 Retrieved 7.11.13
- Movie News and Gossip. The Evening World (New York, New York), February 13, 1922 Retrieved 7.11.13
- Harry McRae Webster - Internet Movie Database Retrieved 7.11.13
- Posing Beauties Costly Whim.The Gettysburg Times May 2, 1921, p. 5
- Lottie Briscoe on IMDb
- Harry Mountford and Lottie Briscoe papers, 1871-1950 (bulk 1906-1935), held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts