(Michael Feingold’s article appeared on Theatermania, 9/26.)
Throughout her decades of theatrical success, Ruth Draper (1884-1956) retained one key trait from her upper-echelon upbringing: her privacy. She shunned, for most of her career, photographers and interviewers. Russell Crouse, who briefly handled her publicity in the years before he and Howard Lindsay became one of Broadway's star playwriting teams, complained that "she didn't want any publicity… Everything I did to help her sell out, which she did, I did in spite of her." Her entire filmography consists of two brief TV appearances from the time of her farewell tour, neither currently accessible online.