Morris, Clara

Clara Morris, stage name of Clara Morrison, née La Montagne, actress, author (b at Toronto 17 Mar c 1848; d at New Canaan, Conn 20 Nov 1925), dubbed "the Queen of Melodrama" for her ability to move an audience to tears. Taken to Cleveland as a child, she was a "ballet-girl" (the name given in those days for very young dance performers) in 1860. By 1869 she was a leading lady in Cincinnati and she played Halifax in 1870 before being discovered that September in New York by Augustin Daly. She was an overnight triumph in Wilkie Collins's Man and Wife and a sensational success as Camille and mad Cora in L'Article 47. Eventually ill health curtailed her appearances. She wrote 3 vols of reminiscences, Life on the Stage (1901), Stage Confidences (1902) and Life of a Star (1906), as well as several novels and volumes of stories.