All Star cast for 1909 ‘All American Benefit’

New York NY Dramatic Mirror 1909 July 24
Wikipedia states – Clarice Vance was known as a “coon singer“, singing popular Negro dialect songs of the day. She was a handsome woman, slightly over 6′ tall and could project over a 26-piece orchestra when she sang on the stage. She shared the bill with the leading headliners of the day and her impish face appears on dozens of sheet music covers from 1897 to 1914. Her picture appeared in Vanity Fair at one point. She played at least three extended engagements in London, the most successful being a 26-week appearance at the London Palace in 1909.
Wikipedia again – ‘Walter C. Kelly (1873 – 1939) was a vaudeville comedian and actor. He was born in Mineville, New York. He was the brother of Jack Kelly (Olympic Gold Medalist and father of actress Grace Kelly) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright George Kelly. Kelly toured for years as The Virginian Judge, and was sometimes credited as Walter “Judge” Kelly’.
Also wiki – ‘Grace was heavily influenced throughout her life by two uncles who worked in the arts – who encouraged her to pursue acting and was a mentor throughout her career’.
Wikipedia states – Fanny Ward, was an American actress of stage and screen. Known for performing in both comedic and dramatic roles, she was cast in The Cheat, a sexually-charged 1915 silent film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. Reportedly, Ward’s ageless appearance helped her to achieve and maintain her celebrity. In its obituary for her, The New York Times describes her as “an actress who never quite reached the top in her profession … [and who] tirelessly devoted herself to appearing perpetually youthful, an act that made her famous”.
Ward was married twice. Her first husband was Joseph Lewis, a British money lender and diamond dealer. They married in 1898. In 1909, in an interview with newspaper reporter Ward stated, “My husband hates my work”, and then she questioned why women are treated differently than men professionally:
He wouldn’t speak to me for six months after I returned to the stage. But as for my duty, there are men of leisure who have indulgences, who give up half their time to sport or travel or study or research in some favorite art or science, so why shouldn’t a woman? I only ask to spend six months out of the year upon the stage.

Nothing could found on the performer John Deane, however, this was only half the cast. More on other performers in the cast to follow in next blog.

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