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FOOTLIGHT NOTES

images of theatre and other popular entertainment
1850s-1920s

no. 686

updated
Saturday, 6 November 2010

remembering Patrick O'Connor (1949-2010)

'Mabel Hite''


a photograph of Mabel Hite (1883-1912),
American vaudeville comedienne and musical comedy actress

(photo: Moffett, Chicago, circa 1908)

'FIVE NEW ACTS IN VAUDEVILLE SHOW
'Oakland Orpheum Has Mabel Hite and Mike Donlin at Head of Bill

'OAKLAND, June 12 [1909]. - Mabel Hite and Mike Donlin open at the Oakland Orpheum tomorrow afternoon at the head of an unusually strong vaudeville show. Probably Mabel Hite and Mike Donlin would be sufficient in themselves to crowd the theater, but the management has associated with these brilliant players a galaxy of artists, including some of the highest prices vaudeville acts in the world. There will be five new acts in the show.
'Mabel Hite is know as one of the cleverest comediennes in the land. Mike Donlin, her husband, the idol of New York ball players, for years one of the Giants and now an actor, has become under Mabel Hite's tuition an interesting stage figure. They will appear in a musical sketch entitled ''Stealing Home.''
'An extraordinary attraction is promised in the contribution of Gillingwater and his players. He was once one of Charles Frohman's stars and made a hit in vaudeville. His play, a ''Strenuous Rehearsal,'' is one of the vaudeville classics.
'Mazuz and Mazotte will provide snappy acrobatic comedy. The Vindebonas from Europe have a musical novelty. Billy Van, an old minstrel star, will entertain. The sunny south act of 10 colored dancers and singers, the Baader-La Velle trio of cyclists and Peter Donald and Meta Carson in ''Alex McLean's Dream'' make up the bill.'
(The San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, Sunday, 13 June 1909, p. 24e)

'MABEL HITE DIES AFTER BRAVE FIGHT
'New York, Oct. 23 [1912]. - Mabel Hite is dead. After a brave fight against conditions which were hopeless from the first, the little vaudeville actress and musical comedy star passed away at her apartment, 526 West One Hundred and Eleventh street, at 4 o'clock yesterday afternoon. She was conscious up to within a few minutes of the end and then fell into a sleep which merged into painless death.
'Mrs. Elsie Hite, her mother, was with the actress when she died, but her husband, Mike Donlin, well known as a ball player, was not. Mr. Donlin was in Youngstown, O. where he had just opened in a vaudeville act, with Tom Lewis as his partner. He was notified by wire and replied that he would start for New York immediately. Until he arrives plans for the funeral will be held in abeyance.
'Mabel Hite had been a Broadway favorite ever since her metropolitan debut as Nerissa in A Venetian Romance. She always displayed a distinct personality in grotesque parts and an unusual versatility in character roles. She had the facility of making her audience laugh or cry with her as she saw fit.
'Miss Hite was born at Ashland, Ky., on May, 30, 1883. she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis Hite. Most of her girlhood was spent in Kansas City. Her first professional appearance on the regular stage was with Dunn & Ryly's Company in [Charles Hoyt's] A Milk White Flag.
'Her first real hit was made as Estrelle in The Telephone Girl, which part was created by Clara Lipman.
'Later Miss Hite appeared in vaudeville in partnership with Walter Jones. She married Michael J. Donlin early in 1906, when he was with the New York Giants. Vincent Bryan wrote them a baseball sketch and it was with his wife that Donlin made his first stage appearance. (The Newark Daily Advocate, Newark, Ohio, Wednesday, 23 October 1912, p. 10b/c)

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