The top Cabinet card, by Jose Mora of New York, features actress Mlle. Rhea (1843-1899). Mlle Rhea was her stage name. She was actually Mlle Hortense-Berbe Loret and was born in Belgium to French parents. She began studying acting at age 20 upon the suggestion of an actor that she had met at a party. Her decision was also prompted by the death of her mother and financial reversals experienced by her father. She studied acting in Paris and in 1876 spent five years playing roles in Continental Europe. In 1881 she vacationed in England and  decided to appear in British theater. She quickly learned English and in one months time, performed in Much Ado About Nothing in London. Shortly after, she travelled to America where she spent the majority of her remaining life. Her obituary in the New York Times indicates that her english was “somewhat incomplete” and he always performed with a pronounced french accent. She appeared frequently on the New York stage but was a fan favorite in the “provinces”. This very popular actress died in Montmorency, France in 1899. The second cabinet card is a portrait of Mlle. Rhea that was probably taken some years after the first cabinet card. The actress appears somewhat older than in the first image. The second cabinet card was also produced by Mora.

Published in: on July 10, 2014 at 11:35 am  Comments (3)  
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  1. 25 Years Ago [during the week (Sep 28-Oct 4, 1888): J.H. Laine was in advance of [i.e. advance publicity man for] Mlle Rhea in Winnipeg, Manitoba. New York Clipper 61(34) Oct 4, 1913, p. 3

  2. Top picture …. Wow! … Talk about a Kate Claxton look-alike! Gave me pause for a while, but then I found another Mora card of Mlle. Rhea … same costume , full length, standing, which recalled a Cabinet Card I have of Kate Claxton (5 years or so older than the Mlle. Rhea top picture) in one of her costumes from ‘The Two Orphans’ … very similar costume. If this is what it implies … An heroic effort to make Mlle. Rhea look like Kate, to my eye, was beautifully accomplished, hairstyle and all. Kate owned the ‘Orphams’, so you had to pay her, no problem. Mlle. Rhea would have been near 40 years old when she came to NY, a testament to her lasting good looks! … as evident in these pictures. For Kate, the ‘Orphans’ was a gift (annuity) that kept giving. In the early 1920’s it became a blockbuster silent film classic ‘Orphans of the Storm’, featuring Dorothy and Lillian Gish. (It’s long, but … wow! … see it if you can.) This kind of posting… a little mystery … is really fun … thanks a heap!

  3. Actresses frequently copped each other’s looks—whomever was in vogue was bound to be copied—Look at Joan Crawford and Malene Dietrich, Jean Harlow and Marilyn Monroe…

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