Theda Bara

as Herself in the movie Flicker Flashbacks No. 2, Series 5

My own actors library
Real name is Goodman, Theodosia Burr
Also known as TheoThe Vamp
Was born at 29 July 1885 in Avondale, Ohio, USA . Died at 7 April 1955, Los Angeles, California, USA (abdominal cancer)

Theda Bara was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, as Theodosia Goodman, on July29, 1885. She was the daughter of a local tailor and his wife. As ateenager Theda was interested in the theatrical arts and once shefinished high school, she dyed her blond hair black and went in pursuitof her dream. By 1908 she was in New York in search of roles.

That yearshe appeared in "The Devil", a stage play. In 1911 she joined a touringcompany. After returning to New York in 1914, she began making therounds of various casting offices in search of work, and was eventuallyhired to appear in The Stain (1914) as an extra, but she wasplaced so far in the background that she was not noticed on the screen. However, it was her ability to take direction which helped her gain thelead role as the "vampire" in A Fool There Was (1915) later thatyear, and "The Vamp" was born. It was a well-deserved break, becauseTheda was almost 30 years old, a time when younger women were alwaysconsidered for lead roles.

She became the screen's first fabricatedstar. Publicists sent out press releases that Theda was the daughter ofan artist and an Arabian princess, and that "Theda Bara" was an anagramfor "Arab Death"--a far cry from her humble Jewish upbringing inCincinnati. The public became fascinated with her--how could one resistan actress who allowed herself to be photographed with snakes andskulls? Theda's second film, later that year for the newly formed FoxStudios, was as Celia Friedlander in Kreutzer Sonata (1915) . Theda was hot property now and was to make six more films in 1915,finishing up with Carmen (1915/I) . The next year would prove tobe another busy one, with theater patrons being treated to eight ThedaBara films, all of which would make a great deal of money for FoxFilms, and in 1917 Fox headed west to Califoria and took Theda withthem.

That year she starred in a mega-hit, Cleopatra (1917) . This was quickly followed by The Rose of Blood (1917) . In 1918Theda wrote the story and starred as the Priestess in The Soul of Buddha (1918) . After seven films in 1919, endingwith The Lure of Ambition (1919) , her contract was terminated byFox, and her career never recovered. In 1921 she married director'Charles Brabin' and retired.

In 1926 she made her last film, Madame Mystery (1926) , and promptly went back into retirement,permanently, at the age of 41. She tried the stage briefly in the 1930sbut nothing really set the fires burning. A movie based on her life wasplanned in the 1950s, but nothing ever came of it. On April 7, 1955,Theda Bara died of abdominal cancer at the age of 69 in Los Angeles,California. There has been no one like her since.

According to the studio biography 'Theda Bara' (anagram of "ArabDeath") was born in the Sahara to a French artiste and his Egyptianconcubine and possessed supernatural powers. In fact, her father was aCincinnati tailor. By 1908 she appeared in Broadway's "The Devil" namedTheodosia de Coppett. In 1914 she met 'Frank Powell (I)' who casther as The Vampire in A Fool There Was (1915) , the role fromwhich we have the word "vamp" -- a woman who saps the last sexualenergies from middle-aged respectable men, no more than slaves crawlingat her feet. In some of her publicity photos all that remains of herdevoured victims are their skeletons before her on the floor.

Most ofthese period parts ( Salome (1918) , Cleopatra (1917) ,Camille (1917)) were filmed from 1915 to 1919. After that the publicbegan to laugh at such parts - her final return effort, in Madame Mystery (1926) was partly directed by 'Stan Laurel' . .

There is some small facts about Theda Bara:
  • Older sister of actress/writer 'Lori Bara' .
  • Attended and graduated from Walnut Hills High School (1903).
  • Attended and graduated from the University of Cincinnati.
  • Pictured on one of ten 29¢ US commemorative postage stamps celebrating stars of the silent screen, issued 27 April 1994. Designed by caricaturist 'Al Hirschfeld' , this set of stamps also honored 'Rudolph Valentino (I)' , 'Clara Bow (I)' , 'Charles Chaplin' , 'Lon Chaney' , 'John Gilbert (I)' , 'Zasu Pitts (I)' , 'Harold Lloyd (I)' , 'Buster Keaton (I)' , and the Keystone Kops.
  • For a time, she became a victim of her own screen image. Making movies at a time when audiences thought that the character that the actor played was the person that they were in real life she often found herself ostracized publicly. Late in her career she would tell stories of being refused service in restaurants and one nurse's refusal to admit her husband into the hospital after an accident because the woman thought that she had caused it. Many of these stories were greatly exaggerated (mostly by Bara herself) but she told them to establish the kind of perception that she had given the public.
  • Her screen persona was an exotic foreign beauty who was the ultimate "vamp" who would go through men like a shark. In reality, she was born in Ohio. Those who knew her claimed that she was a quiet, reserved woman that would be more likely found in a bookstore rather than a Hollywood nightclub. In the early 1920s, she married director Charles Brabin. This marriage lasted until her death despite allegations that Brabin had cheated on her (by Frederica Sagor Maas).
  • As a marketing ploy for Cleopatra (1917) , Bara claimed to have the same astrological sign as the real Cleopatra. That is incorrect, as Cleopatra was a Capricorn and Bara was a Leo.
  • Most of her films were unfortunately lost to a fire at Fox Studios in 1937. Bara had her own personal archive but did not realize they had disintegrated until she took some films out to show a child friend who she hoped to play herself in a film in the 1940s.
  • In 1930, she lived at 632 North Alpine Drive in Beverly Hills, California.
  • Almost all of her forty films have been lost (only three survive, as well as a handful of fragments as of 2009), giving her perhaps the highest percentage of lost work for somebody with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • Is reported that Neil Gaiman took inspiration on her, for the character Deatj in the Sandman Comics.
  • She married British-born director 'Charles Brabin' in 1921. After her retirement, Theda expressed interest in possibly returning to the stage or screen, but her husband did not consider it proper for his wife to have a career. Bara spent the remainder of her life as a hostess in Hollywood and New York, in comfort and quite wealthy.
  • Studios went wild promoting Bara with a massive campaign, billing her as the Egyptian-born daughter of a French actress and an Italian sculptor. They claimed she had spent her early years in the Sahara Desert under the shadow of the sphinx, then moved to France to become a stage actress. The truth is that she never visited Egypt or France. They called her the "Serpent of the Nile" and encouraged Bara to discuss mysticism and the occult in interviews.
  • Hoping to break out of her vamp typecast, Bara made the film Kathleen Mavourneen (1919) in a Mary Pickford styled role. The film flopped and mutually tired of each other she and Fox both agreed not to renew her contract. After leaving Fox in 1919, she made only one feature The Unchastened Woman (1925) . She retired in 1926 after making only one more film, the short comedy Madame Mystery (1926) .
  • Although she made more than 40 feature films between 1914 and 1926, complete prints of only six of these films are left in existence.
  • Her mother, Pauline DeCoppett (1861-1957), born in Switzerland and was also Jewish, outlived daughter Theda by two years.
  • Promotional claims fed off the fact that her stage name was chosen because it is an anagram for "Arab Death". In reality, "Theda" was a childhood nickname for Theodosia, and "Bara" was a shortened form of her maternal grandfather's last name, Baranger.
  • There is a street in Fort Lee, New Jersey named Theda Bara Way after her.
  • In the mid-to-late 1910s, she owned a large Tudor-style home at 649 West Adams Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. She sold the property to 'Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle' and 'Minta Durfee' in 1918. It was eventually also the home of filmmaker couples 'Raoul Walsh' and 'Miriam Cooper (I)' and 'Joseph M. Schenck' and 'Norma Talmadge' .
  • Later in life, Bara hoped to make a film about her career with a neighborhood child she treated as her own. However, the film never came to be as her health took a turn for the worst and she passed on soon after.
  • Only a few seconds of her most famous film Cleopatra (1917) still survive. It was last seen in 1934 when 'Cecil B. DeMille' viewed it for his own remake.
  • Announced during a Lux Radio Theatre in 1936 that she was planning to return to films and was in the process of finding the right script.
  • Bara left the bulk of her estate to sister Lori. When she died, she left half of her $400,000 estate to the Motion Picture Relief Fund in Theda's name with the other half going to children's hospitals.
  • After Bara's sensational early success at 20th Century Fox, the entire Goodman Family took the name of Bara.
  • Not only were critics of the opinion that Bara was miscast in Kathleen Mavourneen (1919) , but Irish Hibernian societies were enraged that an actress of Jewish extraction was playing an Irish heroine and sent members to stone the theaters exhibiting it and set off stink bombs.
  • Bara was very near-sighted and like other myopic actors had to memorize the position of furniture and props and rehearsed working them meticulously before the cameras rolled.
  • She was posthumously awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6307 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
  • Following her death, she was interred as Theda Bara Brabin at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Also look some video clip about Theda Bara:
There is the list of movies, where Theda Bara was taked part:
1 Flicker Flashbacks No. 2, Series 5 movie Flicker Flashbacks No. 2, Series 5 1947 as Herself
2 Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 11 movie Screen Snapshots Series 16, No. 11 1937 as Herself
3 Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 1 movie Screen Snapshots Series 17, No. 1 1937 as Herself
4 Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 19 movie Screen Snapshots, Series 3, No. 19 1923 as Herself
5 When a Woman Sins movie When a Woman Sins 1918 as Lilian Marchard/Poppea
6 Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema movie Why Be Good? Sexuality & Censorship in Early Cinema 2007 as Herself
7 45 Minutes from Hollywood movie 45 Minutes from Hollywood 1926 as Herself
8 A Fool There Was movie A Fool There Was 1915 as The Vampire
9 A Woman There Was movie A Woman There Was 1919 as Princess Zara
10 Camille movie Camille 1917 as Marguerite Gautier
11 Cleopatra movie Cleopatra 1917 as Cleopatra
12 Destruction movie Destruction 1915 as Ferdinande Martin
13 East Lynne movie East Lynne 1916 as Lady Isabel Carlisle
14 Empire of the Censors movie Empire of the Censors 1995 as Herself
15 Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films movie Fragments: Surviving Pieces of Lost Films 2011 as Herself
16 Gold and the Woman movie Gold and the Woman 1916 as Juliet DeCordova
17 Heart and Soul movie Heart and Soul 1917 as Jess
18 Her Double Life movie Her Double Life 1916 as Mary Doone
19 Her Greatest Love movie Her Greatest Love 1917 as Vera Herbert
20 Hollywood: The Golden Years movie Hollywood: The Golden Years 1961 as Herself
21 Kathleen Mavourneen movie Kathleen Mavourneen 1919 as Kathleen Mavourneen
22 Kreutzer Sonata movie Kreutzer Sonata 1915 as Celia Friedlander
23 La belle Russe movie La belle Russe 1919 as Fleurette Sackton/La Belle Russe
24 Madame Du Barry movie Madame Du Barry 1917 as Madame Du Barry
25 Madame Mystery movie Madame Mystery 1926 as Madame Mysterieux
26 Salome movie Salome 1918 as Salome
27 Sin movie Sin 1915 as Rosa
28 Stars of Yesterday movie Stars of Yesterday 1931 as Herself
29 The Clemenceau Case movie The Clemenceau Case 1915 as Iza
30 The Darling of Paris movie The Darling of Paris 1917 as Esmeralda
31 The Devils Daughter movie The Devils Daughter 1915 as La Gioconda
32 The Eternal Sappho movie The Eternal Sappho 1916 as Laura Bruffins
33 The Film Parade movie The Film Parade 1933 as Herself, film clip
34 The Forbidden Path movie The Forbidden Path 1918 as Mary Lynde
35 The Galley Slave movie The Galley Slave 1915 as Francesca Brabaut
36 The Light movie The Light 1919 as Blanchette Dumond, aka Madame Lefresne
37 The Love Goddesses movie The Love Goddesses 1965 as Herself
38 The Lure of Ambition movie The Lure of Ambition 1919 as Olga Dolan
39 The Many Faces of Cleopatra movie The Many Faces of Cleopatra 2009 as Cleopatra
40 The Movies March On movie The Movies March On 1939 as Herself - From 'A Fool There Was'
There is the list of interview of Theda Bara:
  • "Film Fan Monthly" (USA), December 1972, Iss. # 138, pg. 3, by: Maltin, Leonard, "FFM interviews Madge Evans"
There is the list of some articles of Theda Bara:
  • "Cult Movies" (USA), 1993, Iss. 9, pg. 26, by: Rudy Minger, "Theda Bara, The First Sex Symbol"
  • "Classic Film Collector" (USA), 1970, Iss. Fall, pg. 6-8, 11, by: Alan Brock, "The Unfulfilled Dream of a Star"
  • "Films in Review" (USA), May 1968, pg. 266-87, by: DeWitt Bodeen, "Theda Bara; The Screen's First Publicity-Made Star Was a Woman of Sensibility"
  • "The London Times" (UK), 22 April 1955, pg. 15:7, "Theda Bara"
  • "Variety" (USA), 13 April 1955, pg. 79:1, "Theda Bara"
  • "New York Times" (USA), 10 April 1955, pg. 88:1, "Theda Bara Rites Held on Coast"
  • "New York Times" (USA), 9 April 1955, pg. 13:4, "Rites for Theda Bara Today"
  • "New York Times" (USA), 8 April 1955, pg. 21:1, "Theda Bara Dies; Screen Star, 68; 'Siren' of Silent Films Was Top Box-Office Attraction During the Twenties; Denounced In Churches"
  • "Paris and Hollywood" (USA), August 1927, pg. 84, "Movie History in the Making Ten Years Ago"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 22 May 1926, pg. 326, "Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 21 November 1925, pg. 252, "Hal Roach Signs Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 3 January 1925, pg. 79, "Chadwick Signs Theda Bara for Series of Big Pictures"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 21 June 1924, pg. 7, 28, by: John W. Vandercook, "Theda Bara Returns to the Screen; Famous movie vamp signs contract to appear again in movies, after retirement of several years--First picture to be 'Declassee'"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 2 June 1923, pg. 3, by: David A. Balch, "Famous Movie Vamp Plays New Role--That of Editor; Theda Bara, world renowned creator of the screen vampire, visits the editorial office of 'Movie Weekly' and is editor for a day"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 2 June 1923, pg. 9, by: Gladys Hall, "The Real Theda Bara--at Home"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 2 June 1923, pg. 13, 31, by: Grace Kingsley, "Why I Don't Want Theda Bara to Return to the Screen--by Her Husband"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 2 June 1923, pg. 18, 30, by: Vincent de Sola, "Theda Bara's Face Tells Why She Was a Vampire"
  • "Screenland" (USA), June 1923, Vol. VII, Iss. 3, pg. 38-40, 103, by: Eunice Marshall, "Is Theda Bara Alive or Dead?"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 22 November 1922, pg. 334, "Theda Bara to Star in 'The Easiest Way'"
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 28 October 1922, pg. 7, 23, by: Lewis F. Levenson, "'I'm Going Back to Vamping,' Says Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 16 September 1922, pg. 193, by: Sumner Smith, "Theda Bara to Return as a Vamp But One with an Honest Purpose"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 15 July 1922, pg. 214, "Myron Selznick Will Bring Theda Bara Back to Screen"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 27 August 1921, pg. 915, "Ochs Plans Tour for Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 9 August 1919, pg. 817, "Bara Buys First Certificate"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 19 July 1919, pg. 359, "Theda Bara"
  • "Motion Picture Classic" (USA), January 1919, pg. 16-17, 78, by: Frederick James Smith, "Keeping That Appointment with Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 19 October 1918, pg. 391, "Theda Bara in New York"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 5 October 1918, pg. 62, "Bara Suffers from Prostration"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 6 July 1918, pg. 77, "Theda Bara Reported Ill in Los Angeles"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 2 May 1918, pg. 1250, "Theda Bara Writes Spy Story"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 27 April 1918, pg. 548, "Miss Bara Summoned as Vampire Expert"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 9 March 1918, pg. 1355, "Theda Bara a Regimental Godmother"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 2 March 1918, pg. 1219, "Theda Bara Arrives on the Coast"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 2 February 1918, pg. 699, "Miss Bara Working on Her Own Story"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 17 November 1917, pg. 1027, "Theda Bara at Fox Jersey Studios"
  • "New York Times" (USA), 17 November 1917, "Theda Makes 'Em All Baras; Actress's Family Join Her in Dropping Name of Goodman"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 10 November 1917, pg. 864, "Theda Bara Sells Liberty Bond"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 20 October 1917, pg. 414, "Theda Bara Goes to Broadway"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 6 October 1917, pg. 92, "Theda Bara Soon to Be Seen on Broadway"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 30 June 1917, pg. 2107, "Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 5 May 1917, pg. 824, "Theda Bara"
  • "Moving Picture World" (USA), 16 December 1916, pg. 1664, "Bara's First 'Vampire' Role in Months"
  • "Motion Picture Classic" (USA), October 1916, pg. 25-28, by: Roberta Courtlandt, "Theda, Misunderstood Vampire; Theda Bara's Greatest Wish Is to Play the Part of a Sweet, Essentially Feminine Woman"
  • "New York Times" (USA), 20 February 1916, pg. 8:2, "Some 500,000 Spectators Follow Her Every Day; This Is the Amazing Public Assembled in One Year by Theda Bara, the Flaming Comet of the Cinema Firmament"
There is the list of some printed articles of Goodman, Theodosia Burr:
  • "Playboy Special Edition" (USA), August 1999, pg. 89, by: staff, "Playboy's Sex Stars of the Century"
  • "Playboy" (USA), January 1999, Vol. 46, Iss. 1, pg. 105-128+214-220, by: D. Keith Mano, "Sex Stars Of The Century"
  • "Playboy" (USA), February 1997, Vol. 44, Iss. 2, pg. 70-71, by: James R. Peterson, "Playboy's History of the Sexual Revolution, Part II (1910-19): The End of Innocence"
  • "Modern Man Deluxe Quarterly" (USA), 1968, Vol. 8, Iss. Spring, pg. 56, by: staff, "Hollywood from fetish to flesh and back"
  • "Lui" (France), June 1966, Iss. 30, pg. 135, by: Michel Caen, "Service après vamp"
  • "Playboy" (USA), September 1965, Vol. 12, Iss. 9, pg. 176, by: Arthur Knight & Hollis Alpert, "The History of Sex in Cinema - Part Five: Sex Stars of the Twenties"
  • "Playboy" (USA), May 1965, Vol. 12, Iss. 5, pg. 136, by: Arthur Knight & Hollis Alpert, "The History of Sex in Cinema - Part Two: Compounding the Sin"
The image of Goodman, Theodosia Burr was on the covers of these magazines:
  • "Movie Weekly" (USA), 31 December 1921
There is the list of some quotes of Theda Bara:
  • I have the face of a vampire, but the heart of a feminist.
  • (1917) During the rest of my screen career, I am going to continue doing vampires as long as people sin. For I believe that humanity needs the moral lesson and it needs it in repeatedly larger doses.
  • To understand those days, you must consider that people believed what they saw on the screen. Nobody had destroyed the grand illusion. Audiences thought the stars were the way they saw them. Why, women kicked my photographs as they went into the theaters where my pictures were playing. And once on the streets of New York, a woman called the police because her child spoke to me.
  • [on director] 'J. Gordon Edwards' was kind and considerate and the nicest director I ever had. Some directors are wonderful. They give you such funny advice on manners and deportment. "Do I repulse the advances of the leading man or do I lead him on?" I asked. The director was stumped. He hadn't an idea of what to do. Finally, he hit upon a lively answer. "Oh, just keep the audience guessing," he said.
  • [on husband 'Charles Brabin' ] His mental brilliance was not the first attractive quality I noticed about him. It was the way he walked. Like an Indian, or, as if he wore seven-league boots. He stalked in and in two strides crossed the room. It still fascinates me to sit and watch him approach me.
  • To be good is to be forgotten. I'm going to be so bad, I'll always be remembered.
  • I started out as a star and remained a star.
  • There's a little bit of vampire instinct in every woman.
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