Maude Fealy

Maude Fealy (born Maude Mary Hawk, March 4, 1883 – November 9, 1971) was an American stage and silent film actress whose career survived into the sound era.[1]

Maude Fealy
Maude Fealy, stage actress (SAYRE 71).jpg
Maude Fealy in 1905
Maude Mary Hawk

(1883-03-04)March 4, 1883
DiedNovember 9, 1971(1971-11-09) (aged 88)
Years active1886–1958
Louis Hugo Sherwin
(m. 1907; div. 1909)

(m. 1909; div. 1917)

John Cort, Jr.
(m. 1920; annulled 1923)

Early lifeEdit

Maude Mary Hawk was born on March 4, 1883[2] in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of James Hawk[3] and actress and acting coach, Margaret Fealy. Her mother remarried to Rafaello Cavallo, the first conductor of the Pueblo, Colorado Symphony Orchestra, and Fealy lived in Colorado off and on for most of her life. At the age of three, Maude made her first stage appearance in her mother's 1884 production of Faust[citation needed] and made her Broadway debut in the 1900 production of Quo Vadis, again with her mother.[1]

Fealy toured England with William Gillette in Sherlock Holmes from 1901 to 1902. Between 1902 and 1905, she frequently toured with Sir Henry Irving's company in the United Kingdom and by 1907 was the star in touring productions in the United States.

Fealy in an undated photo


Fealy featured in Representative Women of Colorado, 1914

Fealy appeared in her first silent film in 1911 for Thanhouser Studios, making another 18 between then and 1917, after which she did not perform in film for another 14 years. During the summers of 1912 and 1913, she organized and starred with the Fealy-Durkin Company that put on performances at the Casino Theatre at Lakeside Amusement Park in Denver[4] and the following year began touring the western half of the U.S.

Fealy had some commercial success as a playwright-performer. She co-wrote The Red Cap with Grant Stewart, a noted New York playwright and performer, which ran at the National Theatre in Chicago in August 1928. Though she was not in the cast of that production, the play's plot revolves around the invention of a wheeled luggage carrier ostensibly invented by Fealy. A newspaper article reporting on the invention may be genuine, or may be a publicity stunt created to promote the play. Other plays written or co-written by Fealy include At Midnight, and with the highly regarded Chicago playwright Alice Gerstenberg, The Promise.

Throughout her career, Fealy taught acting in many cities where she lived; early on with her mother, under names which included Maude Fealy Studio of Speech, Fealy School of Stage and Screen Acting, Fealy School of Dramatic Expression. She taught in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Burbank, California; and Denver, Colorado. By the 1930s, she was living in Los Angeles where she became involved in the Federal Theatre Project and at age 50 returned to secondary roles in film, including a credited appearance in The Ten Commandments (1956). Later in her career, she wrote and appeared in pageants, programs, and presented lectures for schools and community organizations.

Personal lifeEdit

In Denver, Colorado, Fealy met a drama critic from a local newspaper named Louis Hugo Sherwin (son of opera singer Amy Sherwin). The two married in secret on July 15, 1907 because, as they expected, her domineering mother did not approve.[5][6] The couple soon separated, and divorced in Denver in 1909.[7] Fealy then married actor James Peter Durkin.[8][9] He was a silent film director with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company. This marriage ended in divorce for non-support in 1917.[6] Soon after this Fealy married John Edward Cort. This third marriage ended in a 1923 annulment and was her last marriage.[10] She bore no children in any of the marriages.


Fealy died on November 10, 1971, aged 88, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.[11] She was interred in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


(Per AFI database)[12]


  1. ^ a b Katie Rudolph (November 16, 2015). "Actress Maude Fealy: Called Denver 'Home'". Denver Public Library.
  2. ^ California Death Index
  3. ^ Ohio Marriages, 1800-1958 : 8 December 2014
  4. ^ Maude Fealy Papers, WH1117, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library
  5. ^ "Maude Fealy Married. Actress Secretly Wedded a Dramatic Critic in Denver On July 15". New York Times. July 28, 1907.
  6. ^ a b Motion Picture Magazine, September 1917, p. 127
  7. ^ "Maude Fealy Gets Divorce. Obtains Decree From L. H. Sherwin, Whom She Secretly Wedded". New York Times. September 30, 1909.
  8. ^ "Maude Fealy Wed Secretly. Young Actress Divorcee Now Bride Of James B. Durkin Of 'The Barrier'". New York Times. December 15, 1909.
  9. ^ James Durkin ; Internet Broadway Database(
  10. ^ "Cort Divorce Revoked as Wife Denies Claim. Mrs. Cort Declares She Knew Nothing of Decree Until She Read About It". New York Times. June 30, 1923.
  11. ^ "Maude Fealy, Character Actress, Dies". Santa Cruz Sentinel. Associated Press. November 11, 1971.
  12. ^ "Maude Fealy". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on March 20, 2018. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  13. ^ The Woman Pays on IMDb; photo (p. 13) and description (p. 15) in Reel Life, January 24, 1914 (online in the Internet Archive).

External linksEdit