Cowl, Jane

▪ American playwright and actress
also called  Jane Cowles , original name  Grace Bailey 
born Dec. 14, 1883, Boston, Mass., U.S.
died June 22, 1950, Santa Monica, Calif.

      highly successful American playwright and actress of the first half of the 20th century.

      Grace Bailey attended Erasmus Hall (1902–04), during which time she made her acting debut in New York City at the theatre of her mentor, David Belasco (Belasco, David), in Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1903). She adopted the stage name Jane Cowl at that time. Over the next several years she played many small parts while studying acting and perfecting her technique under Belasco's painstaking direction. She also took a few courses at Columbia University.

      Cowl won acclaim in her first leading role, as Fanny Perry in Belasco's production of Leo Ditrichstein's Is Matrimony a Failure? (1909). After two seasons with the Hudson Theatre stock company in Union Hill, New Jersey, she returned to Broadway in the fall of 1910. The failure of The Upstart was followed by the success of The Gamblers that year, and in September 1912 she achieved star billing in Within the Law. Common Clay was also a success for her in 1915.In 1917 Cowl appeared in the second of eight motion pictures, the Samuel Goldwyn production The Spreading Dawn. In February of that year she opened on Broadway in Lilac Time, which she had written in collaboration with Jane Murfin under the pseudonym “Alan Langdon Martin.” Lilac Time was a moderate hit in New York and on tour, and the pair's next two efforts, Daybreak (1917) and Information Please (1918), were also fairly successful. Late in 1919 Cowl opened in Smilin' Through, also written by “Martin,” which was a theatrical phenomenon, running for 1,170 performances on Broadway (1919–22). Both Lilac Time (in 1928) and Smilin' Through (in 1932 and 1941) were made into motion pictures. In 1922 she scored a personal triumph in Romeo and Juliet, in which she established a world record for Shakespearean productions of 856 consecutive performances. By this time she was acclaimed the most beautiful woman on the American stage.After a string of failures, Cowl found success again in Noël Coward's Easy Virtue in New York (1925) and in London (1926). She was also a hit in Robert Sherwood's comedy The Road to Rome (1927). The Jealous Moon (1928), which she wrote with Theodore Charles, was mildly successful. John Van Druten's Old Acquaintance, opening in December 1940, was Cowl's last substantial run. For a number of years thereafter she played stock theatres and tried various revivals around the country. Her final New York stage appearance was in The First Mrs. Fraser in 1948. In 1943 she appeared as herself in the movie Stage Door Canteen (she was a codirector of the actual Stage Door Canteen operated during World War II by the American Theatre Wing), and her last film, Payment on Demand, was released in 1951.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Cowl, Jane — (1884 1950)    Born in Boston, Jane Cowl made her Broadway debut in David Belasco s Sweet Kitty Bellairs (1903), after which she acted in several Belasco productions, including The Music Master (1904), The Rose of the Rancho (1906), A Grand Army… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Jane Cowl — Nombre real Grace Bailey Nacimiento 14 de diciembre de 1883 …   Wikipedia Español

  • Jane Cowl — (December 14 1883 June 22 1950) was born Grace Bailey in Boston, Massachusetts. She was a successful early American film and stage actress and playwright. She made her acting debut in New York City in Sweet Kitty Bellairs in 1903, her first… …   Wikipedia

  • Jane Murfin — (* 27. Oktober 1884 in Quincy, Michigan; † 10. August 1955 in Brentwood, Kalifornien) war eine US amerikanische Dramaturgin und Drehbuchautorin. Biografie Jane Murfin begann als Autorin von Theaterstücken, die sie oft gemeinsam mit der… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Jane Sourza — Données clés Nom de naissance Jeanne Elise Sourza Naissance 1er décembre 1902 Paris, France Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Cowl (disambiguation) — A cowl may refer to: Cowl, a garment worn by monks Cowl (chimney), a device fitted to a chimney pot to prevent wind blowing the smoke back down into the room beneath Cowl (oast), the revolving device found on oasts, maltings, and breweries Cowl… …   Wikipedia

  • Cowl — biographical name Jane 1883 1950 originally Grace Bailey American actress …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Cowl — /kowl/, n. Jane, 1884 1950, U.S. actress and playwright. * * * ▪ religious dress  hooded cloak worn by monks, usually the same colour as the habit of the order. Originally a common outer garment worn by both men and women, it was prescribed by St …   Universalium

  • Murfin, Jane — (1892 1955)    Born in Quincy, Michigan, the playwright enjoyed four Broadway hits before she moved to Los Angeles as a producer and motion picture writer. Her plays, all written with actress Jane Cowl, were Lilac Time (1917), Daybreak (1917),… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Smilin' Through — is a play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin. Ms. Cowl also starred in the play and co directed it. It was first filmed in 1922, and was remade twice by MGM, in 1932 and in 1941. In 1932, it was also made into an unsuccessful Broadway operetta, Through …   Wikipedia

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