Theda Bara was born on this day in 1889

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American silent film actress

Related crosswordese: THEDA

Common clues: Actress Theda; Surname among screen vamps; Silents actress Theda

Crossword puzzle frequency: once a year

Frequency in English language: 57053 / 86800

Video: A Fool There Was

Theda Bara was the stage name of Theodosia Burr Goodman (July 29, 1885 - 7 April 1955), a silent film actress. Movie executives made promotional claims that her stage name is an anagram for "Arab Death;" however, Theda is short for Theodosia, and Bara was the middle name of her maternal grandmother.

Theda Bara as Cleopatra

Bara was one of the most popular screen actresses of her era, and was perhaps cinema's first sex symbol. She was nicknamed "The Vamp" (short for vampire) which was slang for a sexually predatory woman at the time. Bara, along with the French film actress Musidora, popularized the vamp persona in the early years of silent film and was soon imitated by rival actresses such as Nita Naldi and Pola Negri.

Briefly known professionally as Theodosia de Coppett, Theda Bara made more than 40 feature films between 1914 and 1926 of which complete prints of only three still exist. Most of these were made for William Fox, starting with "A Fool There Was" in 1914 and ending with "The Lure of Ambition" in 1919.

Her films made Fox a successful studio. She made her Broadway debut in "The Devil" (1908), and her film debut was a bit part in "The Stain" (1914), directed by Frank Powell for Pathé Frères. A large portion of her films are now lost, to the regret of later generations of fans.

She regularly attended parties at the home of powerful actress Alla Nazimova, and was rumored to have been involved with Nazimova romantically, but that has not been confirmed beyond a doubt. She also mingled with other powerful personalities of the day, such as Eva Le Gallienne, Anne Morgan, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

At her height, Bara was making $4,000.00 per week for her film roles. Between 1915 and 1919, she was promoted so heavily that when the studios dropped off their support, her career was never able to fully recover. She struggled with several notable roles until 1926, when she retired from film all together.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Theda Bara".