Bijou Fernandez


Bijou Fernandez

Bijou Fernandez (born 1873?"Fun For The Stage Children", New York Times, December 28, 1885, pg. 5.] "-" November 7, 1961) was a Broadway actress from New York City."Bijou Fernandez, Stage Actress, 84, New York Times, November 8, 1961, pg. 35.]

Her theatrical career endured for seven decades, from the 1880s until the mid 20th century. She appeared in a few movies in the silent film era."The Screen", New York Times, February 17, 1925, pg. 18.]

Child Actress

As a youth she was tutored in acting by Mrs. E.L. Fernandez, her mother, a noted dramatic agent.

Fernandez, at the age of thirteen, was described in a review as "bright-eyed, slender, and fragile." Her voice and demeanor on stage were likened to "an unaffected child." She was not exceedingly precocious as was Bijou Heron, who acted the role of "Adrienne" in "Monsieur Alphonse", as a juvenile player. ["Notes Of Thes Stage", New York Times, June 8, 1887, pg. 4.]

She was a photographer's model known as the "photograph queen" in 1884. At the time she was under contract to Sarony to be photographed every day. For a May Blossom Picnic she wore a red check dress and danced in Central Park. ["The May Blossom Picnic", New York Times, May 23, 1884, pg. 8.]

In August 1884 she acted nightly in "May Blossom", with fellow youth actress, Gracie Levard. The venue of the production was the Madison Square Theatre, ["Choosing Pretty Faces", New York Times, August 19, 1884, pg. 8.] located near Broadway (Manhattan), on 24th Street, behind the Fifth Avenue (Manhattan) Hotel. [ [http://www.wayneturney.20m.com/madisonsquaretheatre.htm Madison Square Theatre ] ] New scenery was painted when "May Blossom" moved to Niblo's Garden in February 1885. Fernandez played the part of "Little May". ["Notes Of The Week", New York Times, February 1, 1885, pg. 6.]

She depicted Adriana, wife to Antipholus of Ephesus when A Comedy of Errors was staged at the Star Theatre, Broadway & 13th Street, in September 1885. The work of William Shakespeare was directed by Joseph Brooks. ["Classified Ad20-No Title", New York Times, September 27, 1885, pg. 15.] The following November "Uncle Tom's Cabin" was presented bythe Third Avenue (Manhattan) Theatre. Fernandez performed the role of "Eva". Mr. and Mrs. G.C. Howard whose daughter had been the original"Eva", acted the characters of "Topsy" and "St. Clair". The couple had been identified with the production of the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe forover thirty years. ["Notes Of The Week", New York Times, November 22, 1885, pg. 9.]

She proved popular as a page to Falstaff in "The Merry Wives", a January 1886 production of Augustin Daly and Daly's Theatre, ["Dramatic And Musical; Shakespeare At Daly's", New York Times, January 15, 1886, pg. 5.] 1221 Broadway (30th Street). [ [http://www.ibdb.com/venue.aspx?id=1559 IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information ] ]

Fernandez was the recipient of a play, "Peggy, The Fisherman's Child", written especially for her in 1887. She played in a production of it for the first time on June 7, at the Lyceum Theatre (New York). ["Amusements", New York Times, May 29, 1887, pg. 2.]

She accepted a contract with the Daly company in July 1887, which bound her to the firm for a period of seven years. The terms allowed Fernandez aliberal salary, furnished her stage costumes and all her clothing, and supervised her education. ["Theatrical Gossip", New York Times, July 13, 1887, pg. 2.] She was "Puck (Shakespeare)" in a production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream at Daly's Theatre in February 1888. ["Amusements", New York Times, February 1, 1888, pg. 5.]

Mature Stage Performer

In preparing for her characterization of "Allison Deyo" in "Hearts Aflame", in 1902, her mother felt she became too much like the character she was playing. The elder Fernandez remarked to a friend that her daughter had become preoccupied with riding horseback "in divided skirts, smoking cigarettes, andmaking high balls. ["Gossip Of The Stage", New York Times, August 26, 1902,pg. 9.] She performed the role at the Garrick Theatre during the 1901 season before her mother's objections almost caused her to withdraw the following year. ["Gossip Of Stage Folk", New York Times, August 25, 1902, pg. 5.]

In the fall of 1902 Fernandez teamed with C.D. Waldron to lead the Herbert Stock Company in presenting "Aristocracy" by Bronson Howard. It was staged at the Circle Theatre, Broadway and Sixtieth Street. ["Plays That Continue", New York Times, November 30, 1902, pg. 33.] Adapted by
David Belasco and Henry C. De Mille, the play was eventually called "The Charity Ball". Fernandez portrayed Ann Cruger, the daughter of a Wall Street tycoon and an enemy of her sinful brother. ["The Charity Ball", New York Times, December 23, 1902, pg. 9.]

She played roles in "The Girl I Left Behind Me" as a member of the Empire Theatre Company, "The Climbers" with the Amelia Bingham Company,"Arms and Man" with Arnold Daly, and "Man and Superman" with Robert Lorraine. In 1937 Fernandez was in the cast of "I'd Rather Be Right" at the
Alvin Theatre. The musical comedy was written by George S. Kaufman, Moss Hart, Richard Rodgers, and Lorenz Hart. George M. Cohanacted the part of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. ["The Openings", New York Times, October 31, 1937, pg. 173.]

Fernandez was among the honored actors at a tea given by the Drama League of New York at The Pierre Hotel, in November 1937. ["Drama League Gives Tea", New York Times, November 22, 1937, pg. 14.] Her final stage role came in "Prescott Proposals" with Katharine Cornell in 1956.

Hollywood career

Fernandez joined the Samuel Goldwyn Company after the deaths of her mother and husband, the English actor William L. Abingdon. Abingdon committed suicide in May 1918, in his home at 235 West Seventy-Sixth Street, New York City. ["William L. Abingdon, Actor, Ends His Life", New York Times, pg. 6.] Fernandez worked as atalent scout and later in the same capacity with both Metro Goldwyn Mayer and Warner Bros.. She signed Patricia Collinge at the age of 16and found her a role in "The Queen of the Moulin Rouge" ["The Past And Present Of Patricia Collinge", New York Times, February 22, 1925, pg. X1.] She is in "New Toys" (1925), a silent feature which stars Richard Barthelmess, Mary Hay, and Clifton Webb. "Just Suppose" (1926) relates a story of the Prince of Wales coming to the United States and falling in love with an American woman. Fernandez has

She is in "New Toys" (1925), a silent feature which stars Richard Barthelmess, Mary Hay, and Clifton Webb. "Just Suppose" (1926) relates a story of the Prince of Wales coming to the U.S. and falling in love with an American woman. Fernandez hasa part in this Barthelmess motion picture. This time the leading lady is Lois Moran. ["The Screen", New York Times, January 18, 1926, pg. 26.]

Death

Fernandez died following a short illness at University Hopital in New York City in 1961. She lived at the Lancaster Hotel, 22 East 38th Street.

She was a life member of the Episcopal Actors Guild and the Actors' Fund of America. She was elected asan Actors' Fund trustee for a three year term on May 23, 1919. ["Actors' Fund Has Deficit", New York Times, May 24, 1919, pg. 13.]

She participated in the Stage Women's War Relief during World War I. For a number of years Fernandez managed the program distribution for several benefits conducted by The Players and The Lambs.

References

External links

*imdb|0272942
* [http://americahurrah.com/Postcards/NY5.html Bijou Fernandez] postcard


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