Part of the American History & Genealogy Project

Mary Anderson Navarro 1859 ~ 1940


Mary Anderson Navarro

Madame Navarro is one of the most accomplished actresses and gifted women America has ever produced. She was born in Sacramento, California, July 28, 1859. Her maiden name was Mary Antoinette Anderson. Her parents were of foreign descent. She soon decided to make the stage her profession, and neither the discouragements of her parents or friends deterred her from her purpose. On witnessing the "performance of Edwin Booth as "Richard the Third," she gave a repetition of this in her own home, which so impressed her parents that a private performance was given before her friends, and here she achieved her first success.

She was a student at the Ursuline Convent, in Louisville, and was given private lessons in music, dancing and literature with a view of training her for her dramatic career. Charlotte Cushman advised her to study under Vanderhoff, in New York, and ten lessons from this dramatic teacher were her only real training; the rest she accomplished for herself, which makes her the more notable. On the 27th of November, 1875, she made her first appearance as Juliet, in the Macaulay Theatre, Louisville, Kentucky. She won a most pronounced success.

After this she had no more difficulties to overcome. She was welcomed everywhere, and everyone was now willing to acknowledge her great talent and natural genius as an actress. Her dignity and high standard as a woman, gave her a most enviable social position, which she has held all through her life. In 1879 she made her first trip to Europe. In 1880 she received an offer to play at the Drury Lane Theatre, London, but declined it fearing she was not quite equal, as yet, to such heights of fame, also refusing an engagement at the London Lyceum, but in 1885 she accepted an offer at the Lyceum in "Parthenia." Her triumph was instantaneous. From this time on during her entire stage career she knew nothing but success until her name was placed at the head of American actresses of her day. In 1889 she was obliged to retire from the stage owing to a severe illness, and in 1890 withdrew permanently to the sincere regret of every American citizen. Soon afterward she married M. Antonio Navarro, a citizen of New York. They have lived, ever since their marriage, in England, where her social position is second to none.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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