Abraham (Lion) Solser (6 February 1877 in Rotterdam – 3 August 1915 in Rotterdam) was a Dutch comedian and early film actor of the late 19th and early 20th century. He was famous for performing as “transvetite” female roles alongside his comic half Piet Hesse.
Abraham (Lion) Solser
6 February 1877
|Died||3 August 1915 (aged 38)|
Rotterdam, Netherlands Buried in Diemen.
|Spouse(s)||Adrienne Willemsens (m.1899)|
Lion Solser was born as Abraham Solser to Johannes Solser (van der Vank) and Engelina Florina Hartlooper on February 6, 1877. His ancestry was a proud line of variety show performers and as a result, he was enrolled into drama school at a young age. He made his formal debut when his brother Michiel (famous for the character creation of ‘Flipje' from Reyding's 'Revue Artistique'), died and he had to fill in as an operetta. He eventually teamed with Hesse and his wife, Adrienne Willemsens, who birthed in Schaerbeek, Belgium on March 25, 1872, until her death in Amsterdam on March 5, 1962. Solser would live his career as a strict director and actor, part of such productions as "Do you know about Schellevis-Mie?" and a cross-dressed duo Wip and Snip with Hesse. (An inspiration for Snip and Snap by Willy Walden and Piet Muijselaar.) The first was his most famous performance, whence he played a fishmonger and earned the title for the “genre of Solser en Hesse”. The performance survives in critical remarks and an advertisement.
Solser en Hesse made their formal debut, accordingly, in a specialty programme at the Groningen fair. As their trademark old maids, they became “elegant, mundane” and quickly went viral. Hesse soon began to apply his couplet poems to the act, and those were solicited in a small market of amateurs. The duo continued to flourish with singing roles in stage acts and a brief stop in a comedy troupe of Amsterdam “happy games”. Lion then won another hit with "Half an hour at the office of the Moderne Tooneel". He followed Henri De Vries as a Dutchman to introduce the act. In the turn of the century, Solser and Hesse were offered the film debut in the lost film Solser en Hesse, which would be sequelled in 1906. They also performed in the first Dutch film, “The Deranged Hengelaar”. Lion’s real-life sister played the artist Adrienne Solser. With this credit roll, the duo became celebrated by the year 1910.
Lion then broke ground with genius sketches in Amsterdam with manager Tony Schmitz. The duo then were led to such acts as "Have you seen the child yet?" and “Are you also coming to the Wedding of Mietje T” as performed at Grandthéatre, and "The Legacy of Uncle Janus" at Hollandsche Schouwburg. This included "Have you heard of Schellevis Mie ?" at Panoptic theatre. The performances all starred Lion as a “Jordanian” female. These performances, mixed with Puppet shows and lectures, were also regaled as “beautiful”, “real” and “life-like”.
Solser then became quite “hot-blooded”, lashing out at the audience during a performance in Schellevis Mie six months prior to his suicide, taking place more and more often out of blue. He could not be left alone. He had tyrannical rants and argued more and more, until he took a month’s rest. Having seemingly recovered completely, his outright nervousness struck him down on 3 August 1915 in Rotterdam at the age of 38 years. Solser was mourned by his close partner Hesse and survived by wife and daughter as he was buried in Old Diemen Cemetery. A generation of fans will remember his idiosyncratic artist’s masterpiece.
- "Lion Solser" (in Dutch). EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Retrieved December 2, 2014.
- "Lion Solser". archived news. geheugenvannederland.nl. Retrieved November 17, 2011.
- FÖRSTER, ANNETTE (2017), "Adriënne Solser on the Dutch Popular Stage", Women in the Silent Cinema, Histories of Fame and Fate, Amsterdam University Press, pp. 25–72, ISBN 978-90-8964-719-1, retrieved 2022-05-12
- Jacques Klöters (1987). 100 jaar amusement in Nederland (in Dutch). Staatsuitgeverij. pp. 69–70, 176. ISBN 90-12-05443-5.
- Genootschap Amstelodamum (1916). Jaarboek van het Genootschap Amstelodamum, Volumes 17-19 (in Dutch). Ten Brink & De Vries. p. 12.
- Lion Solser, EYE Film Institute Netherlands
- Solser en Hesse, EYE Film Institute Netherlands
- Joodserfgoedrotterdam , Dutch Biography
- Memorial at Find a Grave
- Data on Adrienne Willemsens
, Findagrave page