Duse, Eleonora

BORN 3 Oct 1858, Vigerano (Pavia) - DIED 21 Apr 1924, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
GRAVE LOCATION Asolo, Veneto: Cimitero di Santa Anna, Via Sant’Anna

Eleonora Duse was born into an old Italian family of actors. She grew up in Chioggia and successfully played Julia when she was fourteen. In 1879 she saw Sarah Bernhardt in Turin, and after this event she developed a completely different style of her own, dominated by feeling.

Duse worked her way up to fame and she was especially great whilst portraying the sufferings of human beings. In Naples she appeared in Augier's in "Les Fourchambault" (1878) and in London and New York she was successful as Marguerite Gautier in "La dame aux camélias" by Alexandre Dumas fils.

In 1894 she met Gabriele d'Annunzio and she was successful in his "Francesca da Rimini" and "La città morta". For a while they had a passionate relatonship and d'Annunzio wrote "La Gioconda" (1899) for her. With her own ensemble she performed in Vienna, Paris, St. Petersburg, London and Berlin.

After playing in Ibsen's "Frau von Meere" in 1909 she withdrew from the stage for twelve years. In 1916 she played in the film "Cenere". She had been the lover of the banker Robert Mendelssohn for many years and he had successfully invester her fortune. After he died in 1917 her letters were found by his widow Giulietta Gordigliani, who possibly had a hand in destroying Duse's fortune completely by transferring it to Italy.

Because of her financial losses Duse was forced revived her career at Turin in 1921. She travelled around restlessly until she died in a hotel room in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania during a tour in the USA.

Related persons
• was the lover of D'Annunzio, Gabriele
• was a friend of Gordigiani, Giulietta
• was painted by Gordigiani, Michele
• was painted by Kaulbach, Friedrich August von
• was the lover of Mendelssohn, Robert von

• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
• Bergner, Elisabeth, Bewundert viel und viel gescholten, Elisabeth Bergners unordentliche Erinnerungen, Bertelsmann, München, 1978
• Schöne, Günter, Bühnenstars, Florian Noetzel, Wilhelmshaven, 1998

Dusek, Frantisek Xaver

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 17 Jul 2023