Maude Fealy “The Most Beautiful Woman In the World” In An Atypical Pose
One of the most read stories we have done was about Maude Fealy the stage star and film actress who had a career that spanned the first half of the 20th century.
Given the lack of fact based information available on the internet about Fealy we’ve provided another short page devoted to this forgotten star.
This unusual photograph entitled The Coiffure no. 3 captures Maude Fealy in a very flattering pose.
The Coiffure no. 3 was taken by Rudolf Eickemeyer. If there were other photographs from this sitting indicated by the fact that this is called number three, I have not come across any of them.
In 1903 the Figaro Illustre of Paris held a contest and offered a prize for the woman who represented the “perfect type of beautiful womanhood.” Photographer Burr McIntosh submitted a photograph he had taken of Maude Fealy. A committee of experts pored over 30,000 entries and decided Maude Fealy was the most beautiful woman in the world. Burr McIntosh won the prize for submitting the photo. Fealy wound up with the accolades.
Besides being a famous photographer, Burr McIntosh was the publisher of a popular magazine in the early part of the 20th century, mostly featuring theatrical stars. In February 1904 Maude Fealy graced the Valentine Number of The Burr McIntosh Monthly. The illustration above was drawn by Clark Hobart in 1903.
When we first wrote about Maude Fealy there was uncertainty as to her exact date and year of birth. That has yet to be resolved, though we can now narrow Maude’s birth year to prior to 1884. Maude’s papers housed in the Denver Public Library give a likely birth date of March 3, 1881.
Through diligent research we have established two previous unknown facts regarding Maude’s domineering actress-mother Margaret: the date of her marriage and divorce to Maude’s father. Continue reading
Stage and Silent Star Maude Fealy
A new feature of our web site: photos and short biographies of glamor girls of the past.
These are women that were more than just beautiful, they were talented and were able to cut out successful careers for themselves during an era when men dominated the entertainment industry. Of course with the passage of time, many of these stars have dimmed and are now distant memories. We hope to bring them to light again to a wider audience.
Maude at age 8 with mother Margaret Fealy.
Maude Fealy (born Maude Hawk) in Memphis, Tennessee, started her career at the age of 3 in the legitimate theater with her mother, actress Margaret Fealy. Margaret divorced Maude’s father, James Hawk and then went by her maiden name of Fealy and Maude also adopted her mother’s maiden name.
Fealy’s exact birth date was never clearly established and contemporary reports range from March 4, 1881 to 1886. The Social Security Death Index lists her birthday as March 3, 1882
Fealy hit the big time just before the turn of the century when theatre impresario Augustin Daly discovered her playing Juliet and signed her to a five year contract. Daly died in 1899, effectively canceling the contract and Fealy was then courted by all the major playwrights to appear in their productions. Fealy quickly became a star in many Broadway and London productions. Among the many plays she appeared in were: Quo Vadis, Sherlock Holmes, The Professor’s Love Story, Heart’s Courageous, The Truth Tellers and On the Quiet. She cemented her reputation as a fine actress by playing the female lead in several of the first British actor ever knighted, Sir Henry Irving’s plays including, Becket, The Lyons Mail, Waterloo and Louis XI. Continue reading