Mae Murray, circa 1908, American dancer, stage and film actress, writer and producer.
Mae Murray, 1885-1965, American dancer, stage and film actress, writer and producer, active 1904-1959. Photo circa 1908. (Photo is a 1941 reprint by King Features Syndicate, used as publicity for "BIlly Rose's Diamond Horseshoe Revue"). Mae Murray was born Anna Mary Koenig on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, May 10, 1885. She began her career as a dancer in early 20th century musical revues and musical comedies. She was chosen by Florenz Ziegfeld for an ensemble role in his Follies of 1908 and 1909. By 1910 she was appearing in speaking roles in musical comedies, the most notable being "Her Little Highness" (1913), a musical comedy vehicle for Hungarian sensation Mitzi Hajos. Working Vaudeville from1912-15 as a cabaret dance act with male partners, Murray attracted the attention of Manhattan nightclub investors looking to capitalize on the trend of dancing cafe/clubs. They bankrolled her effort to reopen a closed nightclub, "Sans Souci," as "Mae Murray's Sans Souci" in early 1915. The new club became a success, but Murray got an unexpected break when she was asked by Irving Berlin and Vernon Castle to substitute for Castle's ill wife Irene in their hit Broadway show, "Watch Your Step." This was followed by a featured role in Ziegfeld's Follies of 1915 in which she stood out in several sketches including a spoof of Mary Pickford as "Mary Pickum." After the Follies closed, movie producer Adolph Zukor signed her to a contract with Famous Players and she began her film career, relocating to Los Angeles in 1916, making five feature films in her first year. To be continued . . .