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Her father was Col. Ernest Charles Stahl, a newspaperman who was drama and music critic for a newspaper called the Chicago InterOcean and her mother was French-Canadian. Rose Stahl was born in Montreal and spent her formative years in Chicago, Illinois, where her father worked. She later moved to Trenton, New Jersey when Col. Stahl became editor of the Trenton Herald.
She made her début in Philadelphia in 1887, toured with Daniel E. Bandmann in 1888, and appeared in New York in 1897. In 1902–03 she starred as Janice Meredith in a road touring version of the play of that name. She first appeared in her rôle of Patricia O'Brien in 1904 in the sketch called The Chorus Girl, which she carried to London in 1906, and she reappeared in New York in the revised four-act play, The Chorus Lady, in which she made a sensation and which continued to be her vehicle until 1911. Afterward she played in Maggie Pepper (1911) with Beatrice Prentice playing a supporting rôle, Moonlight Mary (1916), etc. 
As with many turn of the century stage stars, Stahl showed no interest in the new medium of motion pictures when the fledgling studios came courting stage stars around 1912. Like David Warfield, she starred in a handful of plays, became famous for them, and played them for many years.
Stahl was married twice. First to E. P. Sullivan, an actor famous for starring in the hugely popular play and later (1916) film The Black Crook; they divorced in the mid-1890s. Her second husband was William Bonelli, an actor whom she wed in October 1895. This marriage lasted until Bonelli's death. She bore no children in either marriage.
In the 1980 film Somewhere in Time, Christopher Reeve played a journalist researching an Edwardian actress in the library of a large hotel. Reeve pulls out a cache of photos and one of the photos shows a child standing holding a doll. The child is Stahl; the same photo appears in Stahl's biographical entry in Daniel Blum's 1954 2nd edition Great Stars of the American Stage.
- Reading materials and a photograph
- Rose Stahl photo gallery NYP Library Billy Rose Collection.
- NY Times(click the download high resolution PDF link to read) article announcing Stahl's second marriage to William Bonelli on October 17, 1895. She was given away to Bonelli by her father. The article states she had previously been married to E.P. Sullivan which had ended in divorce. The article also states she was 27 years old. However, it is entirely possible that she may have been 28 or 29 years of age at the time of the Bonelli marriage since many actresses of the day were loathe to admit their actual age. Rose Stahl's actual birthdate may have been October 29, 1866 or 1867.