Edna Flugrath

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Edna Flugrath (b. Brooklyn, New York, 30/12/1892 – d. San Diego, California, 06/04/1966) was an actress.


An American-born actress, though most prominently in British films, Edna Marie Flugrath was the oldest of three sisters who all had successful film careers. Encouraged by their parents, the girls - Edna, Viola (Viola Dana) and Leonie (Shirley Mason) - made their first stage appearances at an early age. These included Edna and Viola performing a dance during an interlude of a stage performance of Jane Eyre (1906) in Richmond, Virginia and all three appearing in Rip Van Winkle (1907) at the New National Theatre in Washington. In 1910 Edna graduated from the Metropolitan Opera Company Ballet School. Besides her diploma, she was given a contract and was considered good enough to understudy Anna Pavlova. In 1912 she appeared in Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, again at the New National Theatre and then made a move to the Edison Studios in the Bronx. She became a member of the stock company and between July 1912 and October 1913 appeared in some 28 shorts, a number of them directed by Harold M. Shaw.

In May 1913 Shaw left the United States to take up a position with the newly formed London Film Company. He became their resident director and in October Edna followed him. She subsequently acted in 29 shorts and features, most of them directed by Shaw. These included The Heart of a Child, The Third Generation, The Firm of Girdlestone and The Heart of Sister Ann, all made in 1915 and all co-starring Hayford Hobbs. Early in 1916 Shaw was headhunted by Schlesinger’s African Film Productions and in April of that year he and Edna set sail for South Africa. For AFP she acted in The Splendid Waster (Lorimer Johnston/1916), De Voortrekkers Harold M. Shaw/1916) and Sonny’s Little Bit Lorimer Johnston/1916). She and Shaw were married in January 1917, not long after the premiere of De Voortrekkers. Thus, after Shaw’s acrimonious break with I.W. Schlesinger, she moved with him to Cape Town to act in The Rose of Rhodesia (1918). On the stage they appeared together in The Wasters at the Cape Town Opera House (1917) and at the Standard Theatre in Johannesburg the following year. Early in 1919 the couple returned to England, where she resumed her film career, appearing in films like her husband’s ambitious The Land of Mystery (1920) and Kipps (1921).

In August 1922 they returned to the United States, where her sister, Viola Dana, had become a major star. They acted together in one film, but after that Edna retired from the screen and concentrated on running a Hollywood beauty parlour owned by Viola. In January 1916 Shaw was killed in a car accident and in 1928 Viola transferred the ownership of the Gainsborough Beauty Shoppe to Edna. That same year she married engineer/businessman Halliburton Houghton. The couple visited South Africa in 1936. She died in 1966 and was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. (FO)


S.A. Pictorial, 7 June 1924

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm





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