Katharine Cornell - Table of Contents
By Edward T. Dunn
The text below is excerpted from
Peter C. Cornell, son of S. Douglas Cornell, studied medicine and married Alice Gardner Plimpton. They resided in Berlin, Germany, while Peter pursued graduate studies in medicine, and their daughter, Katherine, was born there in 1893.
Six months later the family returned to Buffalo where they resided on Mariner Street (photos above).
At thirty-six Peter abandoned his medical practice to manage the Star Theatre.
Neither Katherine nor her father had ever lived at #484 Delaware, but the plays on the fourth floor of the mansion played a part in shaping her career. She wrote in 1938:
She lived in Buffalo long enough to graduate from St. Margaret's School, dismissed by Horton as a foundation under Episcopal auspices for genteel young ladies of Protestant faith at North and Franklin Streets opened in 1884 which flourished for three decades then faded away.
Her childhood was unhappy. A tyrannical father, an alcoholic mother, and awareness that she was not beautiful contributed to her feelings of inadequacy.
After St. Margaret's, she was sent to Oaksmere, a finishing school in Westchester, from which she graduated in 1911. Her first success was in the role of Jo in the London production of Little Women. Her first big hit in the United States was Clemence Dane's Bill of Divorcement (1921) followed by Candida (1924), The Green Hat (1925), The Barretts of Wimpole Street, (1931), Romeo and Juliet (1934), and Antigone (1946). She was one of the great actresses of her day.
Page by Chuck
LaChiusa in 2005
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