LORRAINE DREUX: PRETTY STAGE ACTRESS DIES YOUNG AND TRAGICALLY

This cabinet card is a portrait of theatre actress, Lorraine Dreux. The  image is part of the Newsboy Series (#385) and was published in New York City. The Newsboy series was used for advertising purposes by the Newsboy Tobacco Company. Celebrity photographs were given away as premiums upon the sale of tobacco products.To view other Newsboy photographs, click on the category “Newsboy”. Ms. Dreux looks like she ran through the woods in order to arrive at the photography studio in a timely fashion. She has twigs and leaves on her head and even is wearing a necklace of branches around her shoulders. It seems she is modeling “the natural” look. Her eyes are looking upward, as if to say, “Am I really wearing sticks and leaves?”. Who was Lorraine Dreux? The Illustrated America (1893) describes her as “young and pretty, with soft dark eyes, a tremulous little mouth, and a dazzling complexion”. She was born in Marquette, Michigan, of well to do parents. Her father did a great deal of business in the East and she spent much time on the banks of the Hudson River in New York. She was educated at home by a governess supervised by Dreux’s beautiful mother. She decided that she wanted to be an actress while in her early teens. Her parents reluctantly gave her permission and her first experience acting occurred while she was in London, England, with her mother. She was engaged by Mr Charles Wyndham to play comedy parts in London stage shows. She next joined the London Globe Theatre Stock Company playing sentimental roles. She then joined an English traveling theatre company. She soon returned to America and appeared in a number of plays, including “Ninety Days” with William Gillette. The article closes with the prediction that Dreux would be a successful actress in America because she possessed both beauty and talent. The New York Times (1894) reported on Dreaux’s appearance in “Lem Kettle” at the Bijou theatre. She also appeared in “Rush City” (1894) which was staged in Brooklyn (New York), and also in “Nance Oldfield” (1896) in New York. The latter show starred Rose Coghlan and her portrait can be seen in the Cabinet Card Gallery by placing her name in the “search box”. Dreux appeared in one Broadway production, “The Spectator” (1896). The New York Dramatic Mirror (1908) reported the tragic death of Lorraine Dreux. She was described as a well known and capable leading women of many stock companies outside of New York City. She died in New York’s Bellvue Hospital at age 35. The article reports that she “had fallen on evil days” and was “too proud to let her friends know of her plight”. She let an illness go till it turned  into acute pneumonia which led to her death. Her last two engagements were in Worcester, Massachusetts and Rochester, New York. She received excellent reviews for her acting in both productions. However, her wardrobe was stolen and she was criticized for the way she dressed for her part in Rochester. She returned home “down hearted and discouraged” and sick, penniless and homeless. She met an old friend on the streets of New York who took her home to be fed and cared for but her condition worsened. A collection was made from other actors and actresses and the money was used to admit her to Bellvue Hospital where she died. Aid from the Actors Fund paid for her funeral and burial at Evergreen Cemetery.

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