Claxton, Kate Eliza
Claxton, Kate Eliza
|ACTOR, SCREENWRITER (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)|
BORN 24 Aug 1848, Somerville, New Jersey - DIED 5 May 1924, New York City, New York: Manhattan|
REAL NAME Cone, Kate Elizabeth
GRAVE LOCATION New York City, New York: Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn (Section 171, Lot 11581)
Kate Crone was the daugther of Spencer Houghton Crone, an actor who became a well known Baptist minister. Kate Claxton was her stage name. She married the businessman Isadora Lyon in 1865, but soon the marriage ended in a divorce. She debuted as an actress in 1870 in Chicago where she played opposite Lotta Crabtree. Also in 1870 she was engaged by August Daly at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in New York. There she debuted in "Man and Wife" (1870). In 1872 she moved to the Union Square Theatre that was managed by A.M. Palmer. In 1873 she made her name with her part in "Led Astray".
She played mostly comedy and was the first to play the blind girl Louise in "The Two Orphans". This part made her really famous. In 1876 she toured the USA. During a performance of "The Two Orphans" at the Brooklyn Theatre on 5 Dec 1876 a fire broke out that killed 278 people. She was on the stage and managed to escape, although her clothers were on fire. A few months later she was present at the Southern Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri when another fire broke out on 11 Apr 1877. She wrapped herself in wet towels and managed to roll down the stairs to safety. Remarkably, her grandfather had been on the stage when the Richmond Theatre burnt down. Some stated that her presence in a building meant bad luck, but the artist Thomas Nash defended her in a cartoon for which she thanked him by sending him a note.
In 1878 she married the British actor Charles A. Stevenson. They appeared together in "Double Marriage". She attracted headlines with a bankruptcy case and after her jewels were lost. In 1904 their only surviving son Harold committed suicide. After this event she retired from the stage. Her marriage was annulled in 1911 after Stevenson claimed that he had secretly divorced her and married the actress Frances Reilly in 1910. She died in 1924 at home in Manhattan and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery. Claxton in Georgia was named after her.