Adams began performing as a child while accompanying her actress mother on tour. At age 16, she made her Broadway debut, and under Charles Frohman's management, she became a popular player alongside leading man John Drew, Jr. in the early 1890s. Beginning in 1897, Adams starred in plays by J. M. Barrie, including The Little Minister, Quality Street, What Every Woman Knows and Peter Pan. These productions made Adams the most popular actress in New York. She also performed in various other plays. Her last Broadway play, in 1916, was Barrie's A Kiss for Cinderella. After a 13-year retirement, she appeared in more Shakespeare plays and then taught acting in Missouri.
Adams retired after A Kiss for Cinderella in 1916. During the 1920s, she worked with General Electric to develop improved and more powerful stage lighting and with the Eastman Company in developing color photography. It has been suggested that her motivation for her association with these technology companies was because she wished to appear in a color film version of Peter Pan, and this would have required better lighting and techniques for color photography. After 13 years away from the stage, she returned to acting, appearing occasionally in regional productions of Shakespeare plays, including as Portia in The Merchant of Venice in Ohio, in 1931, and as Maria in Twelfth Night in 1934 in Maine.
Adams as Peter Pan
Maude Adams was an American actress who achieved her greatest success playing the role of Peter Pan in the 1905 Broadway production of Peter Pan; or, The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Maude first met Miss Lillian Florence “Lilliet” in 1892. The young pair lived together until Lillie's premature death from a terminal illness in 1901. In 1905, Miss Louise Boynton assumed Lilliet's special place in Maude's private world and remained there for forty-six years. Maude is buried with Louise, with both their name on the tombstone.
Louise Boynton & Maude Adams are buried together in Cenacle Convent Grounds, Lake Ronkonkoma, Suffolk County, New York. Maude asked to be buried beside her secretary and faithful friend, Louise, who had died 2 years before, with both of their names on the gravestone.
Often described as shy, Adams was referred to by Ethel Barrymore as the "original 'I want to be alone' woman". She was known at times to supplement the salaries of fellow performers out of her own pay. Once while touring, a theater owner doubled the price of tickets knowing Adams's name meant a sold-out house. Adams made the owner refund the difference before she appeared on the stage that night. Adams was the head of the drama department at Stephens College in Missouri from 1937 to 1943, becoming well known as an inspiring teacher in the arts of acting. (P: ©Alfons Mucha (1860–1939)/Metropolitan Museum of Art. Maude Adams as Joan of Arc (©4))
After her retirement, Adams was on occasion pursued for roles in film. The closest she came to accepting was in 1938, when producer David O. Selznick persuaded her to do a screen test (with Janet Gaynor, who would later play the female lead) for the role of Miss Fortune in the film The Young in Heart. After negotiations failed, the role was played by Minnie Dupree, who like Adams had been a girlish whimsical type of actress. The twelve-minute screen test was later preserved by the George Eastman House in 2004.
She died, aged 80, at her summer home, Caddam Hill, in Tannersville, New York, and is interred in the cemetery of the Sisters of the Cenacle, Lake Ronkonkoma, New York.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
CreateSpace Store: https://www.createspace.com/4910282
Amazon (Paperback): http://www.amazon.com/dp/1500563323/?tag=e
Amazon (Kindle): http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00MZG0VHY/?tag=e
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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