Search billions of records on Ancestry.com
   
SARRETT/SARRATT/SURRATT Families of America (SFA)©
Indiana Flag - Click on Thumbnail to goto 3dflags.com !
IN. Flag
SFA© Coat of Arms - Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo! Indiana Counties - Click on Thumbnail for larger Map Washington District Flag - Click on Thumbnail to goto 3dflags.com !
DC. Flag
Valeska SURATT, 1882-1962 "The Actress"

Sixth Generation!
Valeska SURATT, age 24yrs, The Belle of Mayfair  -Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo! Valeska SURRATT; "The Actress"
(1st Dau of ......... Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Ralph M. SURRATT & Mrs. Anna (MATTHEWS) STRICKLAND, "Blacksmith" of Gibson & Vigo Co.'s of IN.
(GrandDau of..... Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Daniel SARRETT & Mother: Rhoda DAVIS, "Farmer" of Grayson Co., VA. to Kentucky!)
(1GGrandDau of Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Vincent SARRETT & Martha Unknown, "Farmer" of Surry Co., NC. to Patrick Co., VA.)
(2GGrandDau of Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Elisha,1 SARRETT & Mother: Jane JENKINS, "Farmer" of Surry Co., NC. to Grayson Co., VA.)
(3GGrandDau of Click on Redball for More Info.<--- Jean Esteirnno SARRET & Dutchess Marie, of Southern France, (a.k.a. "Duke of Mont Sarret")
b. 28 Jun 1882 Terre Haute, Vigo Co. IN. [REF: LDS-IGI Film #1903785 ]
d. 02 Jul 1962 age 80yrs, 4 months, in a retirement home, in Washington, DC. Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [REF: Mike #1]
Her "ashes" are buried next to her mother's headstone in the Highland Lawn Cemetery, Terre Haute, Indiana
Specific Interment Location: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- See: FAGrave.com Section 14, lot 475.5.
It's been reported that she married twice, we have only found 1 record that she married only once!
At the age of 23yrs in 1905 she had a "Love Affair" with
William Billy J. GOULD, age 42yrs, Photograph by J. Willis Sayre  - lick on Thumbnail for larger Photo! 36 year old William "Billy" J. GOULD; "A Vaudeville Comic"
b. __ ___ 1869, New York, son of Irish Parents
d. 02 Feb 1950, age 81yrs, New York Click on Redball for More Info. <--[per NY Times]
Buried: Cemetery Location Unknown (to me) No Children!
At age 29yrs she had a live in "Lover" in December 1911, at her 341 West 85th Street, NY. residence, by the name of:
Richard MACKEY, Click on Redball for More Info. <--[per NY Times]
At age 29yrs she married 2nd on 14 Jan 1911, Jersey City, New Jersey to: Click on Redball for More Info. <--[per NY Times]
[Fletcher filed for Divorce 10mths & 26d later for "Offending the Sense of Decency!"
decree was issued on Dec 10, 1911. Click on Redball for More Info. <--[per NY Times]

34 year old Fletcher NORTON; "The Actor" Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [REF: poll.imdb.com]
b. 04 Aug 1877, San Francisco, California,
d. 03 Oct 1941, age 64yrs Hollywood, California,
Buried: Location Unknown (to me) No Children!

Photo From FAGrave.com Hugo Bartoli,  Jan 01, 2001 - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo! Valeska SURATT
Born: June 28, 1882. Died: July 2, 1962.
She moved from Terre Haute, Indiana to New York City in 1905 [a23y] hoping to make it big as an actress. It is said that in 1906 [a24y] she was walking down a hotel staircase one evening wearing a backless gown. Producer Edward Edelston saw this 'beauty' and cast her as a Gibson Girl in 'The Belle of Mayfair' on Broadway. Perfecting her song and dance routines, Miss SURATT teamed up with vaudeville comic Billy Gould for which Oscar Hammerstein paid her $2500 a week. Meanwhile, she secured a 'femme fatale' image in several Broadway comedies. Cosmopolitan featured her as the 'Belle of the Boulevards' in 1910. [a28y] The New York Dramatic Mirror called her 'Vaudeville's greatest star.'
Miss SURATT's popularity engendered a syndicated beauty and skin care column. In 1915, Jerry Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn cast Miss SURATT [a33y] in the title role in 'The Immigrant', her first silent movie. Later that same year, Fox Studios outbid Paramount for her services, converting her into a lustful 'Vamp' She made a dozen popular films before returning to the New York vaudeville scene. During the world war, she quietly donated $500 a week to the American Red Cross and was generous to other charities. Her popularity endured through the Twenties.
 Source:  Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [See: REF: FindAGrave.com Bio
 Maintained by: Find A Grave; Record added: Jan 01, 2001, by Hugo Bartoli; Find A Grave Memorial# 1718

 Possible Record Problem - The French Connection!
It's been recorded that Valeska SURATT, was a Grandchild of French born Grandparents! That is simply NOT true!
 Her Father Ralph H. SURRATT, born in Virginia, listed on the 1880, 1900, 1910 Census that both his parents were born in Virginia.
His Father Daniel SARRETT & Rhoda DAVIS, were also born in Grayson Co., VA. & Moved to Kentucky; His Grandparents Vincent & Martha SARRETT, were born in Surry Co., NC. & moved to Patrick Co., VA His Great-Grandparents Elisha,1 SARRETT & Jane (JENKINS) SARRETT, were born Surry Co., NC. & Moved to Grayson Co., VA. His Great-Great-Grandparents Jean Esteirnno SARRET & Dutchess Marie, of Southern France, (a.k.a. "Duke of Mont Sarret") were the nobles that were born in France. ..prsjr
Click on Redball for More Info. <--- See: The Duke of Mont Sarret

  Chronological Timeline!
 Miss Valeska SURATT/SURRATT,:
 Date  Age   My Source or Reference
 (1882)  Born   See: Google.com GSP Map, Latitude: 38.274575, Longitude: -87.688408 -Click on Redball for More Info. Jun 28th, Owensville, Gibson Co., IN.
"  Born   Born of French decent -Click on Redball for More Info. Jun 28th, of 6th Generation French Decent!
 (1889)  age 7yrs   See: Google.com GSP Map, Latitude: 37.0625, Longitude: -95.677068 - Click on Redball for More Info. Move to 323 N 17th St., Terre Haute, Vigo Co., IN. 47807
 (1894)  age 12yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. She new she wanted to be a "Star" Every night she would make wishes on the stars
 (1897)  age 17yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Grad. High School, she went to work for the "Clare Sisters Photograph Shop" on S. 7th St., Terre Haute
 (1899)  age 17yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. 1st Job W.H. Block's Dept. Store, Indianapolis, Marion Co., IN.
 (1900)  age 18yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Moved to Chicago for acting & dancing lessons.
"  age 18yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Census, not living with Mother & Siblings at 652 Chestnut Ave, Terre Haute, IN.
 (1902)  age 20yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Oct 2nd, was living in New York City, NY. (per brother Austin's Obit.)
 (1903)  age 21yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Met & moved in with 1st "Lover" Wm. Billy GOULD.
 (1905)  age 22yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. in Feb went on Vaudeville tour in South Africa & London.
 (1906)  age 24yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Jan - Discovered by Pruducer Edward Edleston in NY.
"  age 24yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Dec 3rd Opening as 'Gibson Girl' in 'The Belle of Mayfair' on Broadway
 (1907)  age 25yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Mar 30th Closing of 'The Belle of Mayfair' on Broadway
 (1908)  age 26yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Sep 24th Valeska SURATT with Anna HELD in "Miss Innocence Abroad."
 (1910)  age 28yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Parents, move and build Homesplace at 1634 N. 9th Street in Terre Haute
"  age 28yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on April 15th, was living at 47, East 44th St., Manhatten, NY. ""Single" Oppucp. Actress, Theatre
"  age 28yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on April 25th, her 3rd Broadway Musical opened, ""The Girl With The Whooping Cough"
"  age 28yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Cosmopolitan, featured her as 'Belle of the Boulevards'
"  age 28yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. NY. Dramatic Mirror called her 'Vaudeville's greatest star'
 (1911)  age 29yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Jan 14th Married Fletcher NORTON, age 34yrs Jersey City, New Jersey
"  age 29yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Created Beauty & Skin column in NY.
"  age 29yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Stored costumes at 1634 North 9th St., IN.
"  age 29yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Dec 10th VALESKA SURATT LOSES! Divorce from Fletcher NORTON
 (1913)  age 31yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Gilbert & Muir wrote 'You Did, You Know You Did' for her.
 (1914)  age 32yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. Played at Seattle Opera House, Seattle, WA. where was Photographed by J. Willis Sayre
 (1915)  age 33yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Oct 18, 1st silent film release of "The Soul of Broadway" Directed by: Herbert Brenon, Parmount Pictures Calif.
"  age 33yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Dec 20, 2nd silent film release of "The Immigrant" Directed by: George Melford, Parmount Pictures Calif.
 1916  age 34yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. in Sep, Fox Studios outbid Paramount for her services.
"  age 34yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Sep 18, 3rd silent film release of "The Straight Way" Directed by: Will S. Davis, Fox Pictures
"  age 34yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Nov 20, 4th silent film release of "Jealousy" Directed by: Will S. Davis, Fox Pictures
"  age 34yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Dec 25, 5th silent film release of "The Victim" Directed by: Will S. Davis, Fox Pictures
 1917  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Feb 05, 6th silent film release of "The New York Peacock" Directed by: Kenean Buel, Fox Pictures
"  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Apr 23, 7th silent film release of "She" Directed by: Kenean Buel, Fox Pictures
"  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Jun 03, 8th silent film release of "The Slave" Directed by: William Nigh, Fox Pictures
"  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Jul 01, 9th silent film release of "The Sirene" Directed by: Roland West, Fox Pictures
"  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Jul 29, 10th silent film release of "Wife Number Two" Directed by: William Nigh, Fox Pictures
"  age 35yrs   Click on Redball for More Info. on Sep 30, 11th silent film release of "A Rich Man's Plaything" Directed by: Carl Harbaugh, Fox Pictures
 (1927)  age 45yrs  Sued C.B. DeMille for the screenplay of ''The King of Kings.'
 (1962)  age 80yrs  Died in Washington D.C. 'Ashes' buried in Terre Haute, IN.

Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo ..prs  Terre Haute Newspaper, Vigo Co., Indiana
 Issue of Sunday, Feb. 1905
 A Terre Haute Girl Playing in South Africa

 Author of this Article Unknown (to me)
     It might interest the Terre Haute to know that a former Terre Haute girl Miss Valeska SURRATT, [age 23yrs] is making a great hit on the stage in South Africa this season. She has never been before the public on the stage, and it is very complimentary to her natural ability and her training? that she should have been such an instantaneous success. The papers from South Africa was enthusiastic in praise of her work and predict a great future for the artist. She is with her husband William GOULD, [36yrs] well-known to stage to the stage folks in this country.
      Miss SURRAT has always been amired here for her beauty, grace and demurring manner, but it was not known that she had an ambition to shine in the limelight of a theater? She makes an impressive figure, in artistic in dress, vivacious and attractive in manner, and is possessed of a voice that is responsible for her success.
      When she left Terre Haute, she went to Chicago, where she began preparing for her present work by studying music and voice culture. She remained in the School up until a short time ago, when she left with her husband for South Africa.
Mr. GOULD is a well-known in stageland. He is a good all round comedian and has long been prominent be-for the public with the best complements.
It is the intention of the GOULDS to go direct to London after finishing their tour in South Africa and they will be seen together in England before they again see America. The cities of South Africa are greedy for entertainment and it is said that their is no field more lucrative for first class artists.
      Miss SURATT is enthusiastic about her work and her friends claim that she has the timber(sic?), the perserverence, the energy and the daring necessary to win recognition upon the stage. She has all the advantages that go with the making of a success. It is thought that a woman who is so dashing, impressive and graceful off the stage as to stand out from the crowd, can hardly fail of success when artistic talent is added.
 Source: Vigo County, Historian Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [REF: Mike #3]
 This article mentions that Bill & Valeska were "Married" but no official record can be found!....prsjr

Valeska SURATT, age 24yrs, The Belle of Mayfair  -Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo!  "The Belle of Mayfair"
 Valeska SURATT, age 24yrs 1st Broadway Production
 Opening: December 3rd 1906 --- Closing: Mar 30th 1907;
 Total Performances: 140
 Valeska Suratt - Played: Duchess of Dunmow
Location: Daly's Theatre,
Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Description: A musical in two acts
Setting: A Bazaar in a private park and drawing-room in Sir John Caldicott's house
Opening Night Production Credits
Theatre Owned / Operated by Sam S. Shubert and Lee Shubert
Produced by Thomas W. Ryley
Music by Leslie Stuart; Book by Charles H. E. Brookfield and Cosmo Hamilton; Featuring songs with lyrics by William Caine
Directed by Harry B. Burcher
Scenic Design by Young Brothers & Boss Co.; Gowns by: John Wanamaker; Modern clothes by: Ritchie Harnden
Conducted by Antonio DeNovellis
 Source: Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Internet Brodway Productions (IBDB) Sponsored by: The Broadway League©

Photo Valeska Suratt, age 25yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!    Valeska SURATT, age 25yrs 2nd Broadway Production
 Opening: October 10th 1907;  Closing: Dec 7th 1907; Total Performances: 64
 Valeska Suratt - Played: Mrs. Vera Shapeleigh (a wealthy young widow with a taste for athletics)
"Hip! Hip! Hooray!"
Joe Weber and His Company in Another Foolish Affair, A College Yell in Two Shouts
Location: Weber's Music Hall,
Category: Musical, Comedy, Original, Broadway
Description: A musical in two acts
Setting: The Campus of Doolittle University and Interior of the College Boat Club.
Opening Night Production Credits
Produced by Joe Weber
Music by Gus Edwards; Book by Edgar Smith; Lyrics by Edgar Smith; Lyrics for "You'll Never Know What Love Is Until I Love You" by Will D. Cobb and Matthew C. Woodward; Lyrics for "Old Friends" by Sam Ehrlich
Produced under the direction of Julian Mitchell
Costume Design by Mme. Castel-Bert, Mme. De Wolfe,
Photographer Byron, opened Nov. 8, 1908, at the Grand Opera House, Seattle, WA. - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Opening Cast:
Julius Grienbacher, by Joe Weber;   Michael Schultz, by Dick Bernard;   Charlel Horsey, by Harry Tighe;   Washington Deecy, by Tom Lewis;   Punch Hardy, by William GOULD;   Grey Matterson, by Howard Estabrook;   Rush Lyons, by W. Douglas Stevenson;   Tootsie Tripper, by Bessie Clayton;   Ivy Green, by Amelia Stone;   Mrs. Vera Shapeleigh, by Valeska SURATT.
 Source:
Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Internet Brodway Productions (IBDB) Sponsored by: The Broadway League©
Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Poor review in New York Times, Oct 11, 1907 - Joe Weber's New Show (.pdf Adobe Reader file)

New York Times Newspaper  The New York Times, New York, NY.
 Issue of Saturday, September 24, 1908
 Valeska SURATT with Anna HELD
 ITHACA, N.Y. - Valeska SURATT was engaged with yesterday for the support of Anna HELD in "Miss Innocence Abroad." Charles A. BIGELOW and Lawrence d'ORSAY will also be members of the Company.
 Source: New York Times Archives, Page 9, 280 words

Surratt Homeplace, 1634 N. 9th Street, Terre Haute, IN. - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  The SURRATT Family Homeplace - c1910
 This house was located at 1634 N. 9th Street in Terre Haute was built under her direction ca. 1910, and was used for storage of her many costumes and occupied by her mother.  The house was demolished in 2009, for the Union Hospital expansion project. It did contain some unique features. A few of the unique features include curved glass front windows and a very unique stair-case along with many pocket-doors.
Click on Redball for More Info. <---Google.com Map! GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 37.0625, Longitude: -95.677068   Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Ref:#004, Mike McCormick]

U.S. Federal Census  Miss Valeska SURATT can be found in:
 Dated: 15th April, 1910, Manhatten, Ward#19
 1910 Census New York, N.Y.
 [T-624, Roll 1043, E.D. 1169, Page 1a, F.Visit: 7]

 H/H Valeska SURATT, 28yrs b. 1882, IN. H/H Rent, Single Actress, Theatre F-b. IN. M-b. IN
     Border: Marie RENAUD, age 40yrs b. 1870, France, Keeping House, Maid, Pvt. Family, Widow, 1 Ch., 1 Liv. F-b. & M-b. France
     Border: Lena BARBER, age 34yrs b. 1876, France, Keeping House, Maid, Pvt. Family, Widow, 1 Ch., 1 Liv. F-b. & M-b. France
 Living at: 47, East 44th St., New York, NY. Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Google.com Map! GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 39.485372, Longitude: -87.404375

 Valeska Suratt, age 28yrs 3rd Broadway Production - April 25th, 1910
Photo wikipedia.org - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  Broadway Musical Play, New York, NY.
"The Girl With The Whooping Cough"
Theatre: New York Theatre (New York, NY)
1514-16 Broadway (44th St.) New York, NY
Opening: April 25, 1910, # Performances: 24 Closes May 11, 1910
This 1910, French farce was closed due to charges of indecency!
MAYOR CUTS OFF AN INDECENT PLAY; Closes "Girl with Whooping Cough"
at New York Theatre After Reading Manuscript. May 11, 1910,
<---Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo---->

Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: [REF: wikipedia.org, by Will Johnson]
Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Mayor GAYNOR and Police Commissioner BAKER's, Article (Need .pdf Adobe Reader Req.)
Photo wikipedia.org - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!
 Opening Night Production Credits
Produced by A. H. Woods; Written by Hugh Stanislaus Stange
Opening Night Cast
George Anderson; Nena Blake; May Boley; Edward Burton; Blanche Gordon; Eleanor Gordon; John Harvey; Jack Henderson; Charles P. Morrison; Dan Moyles; George Richards; Amelia Summerville; Valeska Suratt; Dallas Welford; Vida Whitmore.

Typical Marriage Ceremony  VALESKA SURRATT WEDS. -- January 15, 1911
 Valeska SURATT married to Fletcher NORTON, and actor appearing with her in Vaudeville.
Valeska SURATT, now appearing in vaudeville, but who attracted considerable attention in "The Girl with the Whooping Cough," a play whose run was terminated by the Mayor, was married in Jersey City, N.J. last night to Fletcher NORTON, a California actor now appearing with her at the Manhattan Opera House. Miss SURATT, Mr. NORTON, and Miss Nance GUYNAN, an actress, were taken to the home of William BURKE, a Justice of the Peace, by Mrs. Jackson GOURAUD in her touring car.
After the ceremony Mr. and Mrs. NORTON and friends speeded to the home of Mrs. GOURAUD at 46 West Fifty-sixth Street. There a light luncheon was set, after which the newly wedded couple returned to the theatre they returned to Mrs. GOURAUD's, where a number of friends awaited them.
Mrs. NORTON was born in Owensville, Ind. She first appeared with William GOULD in Vaudeville. She next won a measure of success as the Gibson girl in Thomas RYLEY's production, "The Belle of Mayfair."
 Source: New York Times Archives, Page 11, 681 words   Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Newspaper Clipping (.PDF Format)
 Note: List Valeska, born in Owensville, Ind. [Should be Terre Haute, Vigo Co. IN. ..prsjr]

New York Times Newspaper  The New York Times, New York, NY.
 Issue of Wednesday, December 10, 1911
 Valeska SURATT Loses - Divorced from Fletcher NORTON
 Divorce Recommended for NORTON on Facts "Offending the Sense of Decency!" Referee Emil GOLDMARK filed in the Supreme Court yesterday a report recommending that Fletcher NORTON receive a decree of divorce from Valeska SURATT. He observed in the report that the facts in the case "offend the since of decency." Before and after her marriage, the refree finds, Miss SURATT lived at 341 West Eight-fifth Street with her "Lover" Richard MACKEY. Miss SURATT paid the bills. The house is owned by W.E.D. STOKES, who recently got judgment against Miss SURATT for three months rent. NORTON, who was Miss SURATT's leading man in a vaudeville sketch, married her in Jersey City on Jan. 14, 1911. Her maid testified that on the day after the marriage, Miss SURATT told her that she had married NORTON in a 'fit of pique' against MACKEY and that she was sorry. Both she and Miss SURATT wept, she said "Why did you weep?" ask the referee. "Because I thought she'd get some neat millionaire," answered the maid.
 Source: New York Times Archives, Page 11, 681 words   Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Newspaper Clipping (.PDF Format)

 Sheet Music written for Miss Valeska SURRATT, age 31yrs - Nov 18, 1913
 "You Did, You Know You Did"
 This piece of sheet music by Lewis F. Muir, (composer) and L. Wolfe Gilbert (lyricist) ©1913.


<----There is a picture of Valeska Suratt [a31y] on the cover.
Source: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- www.Tias.com Pg1210098

 1914 Miss Valeska SURATT, age 32yrs in Collection of J. Willis Sayre Photographs!
Photo Valeska Suratt, age 32yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!    To: Willis Sayre, Love Valeska SURATT
 View Collection at:   Click on Redball for More Info. http://content.lib.washington.edu/sayrepublicweb/index.html
 Description: This collection consists of a selection of 9,856 images from more than 24,000 photographs of theatrical and vaudeville performers, musicians, and entertainers who played in Seattle between 1900 and 1955. The collector was J. Willis Sayre: drama critic, journalist, and promoter. Topics Included J. Willis Sayre; Theatre; Vaudeville; Singers; Opera; Seattle; Pantages; Seattle Opera House; John Cort; Ivar Haglund
 Organization University of Washington Libraries; Type of Organization Academic library; City Tacoma State Washington;
 Primary Sources Print photos; Format of Digital Files jpg;
<---Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!

 Silent Films Made Dec 1915 to Sep 1917
 Miss Valeska SURATT, age 33yrs to 35yrs
 Title  Release Date  Source:
 1. The Soul of Broadway  18 Oct 1915   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0006075; Director: Herbert Brenon, Plot: Grace Leonard, (a.k.a. Valeska Surratt) a typical woman of the New York stage, beautiful but old in sin, seduces William Craig, (a.k.a. Wm. E. SHAY) who becomes a thief in order to shower luxuries upon her. He is sentenced to prison and emerges five years later as a sad-faced, gray-haired man, entirely cured of his mad passion for La Valencia. But she sees him and her old passion is stirred, meaning nothing to her that since his release from prison, he has fallen in love and married a good woman who knows nothing of his past. When William is not swayed by her fascinations, Grace threatens to expose his past life. Written by Les Adams {longhorn1939@suddenlink.net}
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Grace Leonard, aka La Valencia;   William E. Shay ... William Craig   Mabel Allen ... June Meredith   Sheridan Block ... Frederick Meredith;   George W. Middleton ... Monty Wallace;   Jane Lee ... Grace's Daughter    Gertrude Berkeley ... Stage Actress;  
 The Immigrant
2. The Immigrant
 20 Dec 1915   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0005535;
Director: George Melford; Writer Marion Fairfax; Drama,
No relation to the Charlie Chaplin two-reeler of the same name, Lasky Features' The Immigrant was a vehicle for Valeska Suratt, one of the most formidable rivals of movie "vamp" Theda Bara. Fresh off the boat from Russia, immigrant Masha (Suratt) is seduced by J. J. Walton (Theodore Roberts), the libidinous owner of a construction firm. With nowhere else to turn, Masha agrees to marry Walton, but she carries on an illicit romance with Walton's business rival David Harding (Thomas Meighan). Though this clandestine relationship ends up with Walton's death and Harding's financial ruination, Harding is willing to forgive and forget when the chastened Masha promises to change her ways. The highlight of The Immigrant was its exploding-dam finale (which were fairly commonplace in films of this period). ~ Hal Erickson
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Masha ;   Hal Clements ... John ;   Deane ... Walton's secretary;   Bob Fleming ... Officer on board ship (as Bob Flemming);   Raymond Hatton ... Munsing, Harding's secretary ;   Ernest Joy ... Walton's partner ;   Gertrude Kellar ... Walton's housekeeper;   Mrs. Lewis McCord ... Stewardess ;   Thomas Meighan ... David Harding ;   Theodore Roberts ... J.J. Walton;   Jane Wolfe ... Olga (as Jane Wolf);  
Ridiculous looking by modern standards, silent screen femme fatale Valeska Suratt arrived with some fanfare in 1915 as producer Jesse J. Lasky's The Immigrant. An obvious imitator of Theda Bara, Surratt (who actually hailed from Terre Haute, IN) was quickly corralled by Bara's employer William Fox. Although this suggests a move to keep Bara in line, it may have been an effort to corner the vamp market altogether. After all, Fox also had the equally devastating Virginia Pearson in his stable. Suratt did her bodice-ripping best in films with titles such as The Siren and The Slave (both 1917), but the vamp craze was already waning and there was really only one Bara anyway. Suratt later claimed to have written a screenplay about Mary Magdalene which she misguidedly handed over to Will H. Hays, of the notorious Hays Code. Hays, Suratt claimed, passed it on to director Cecil B. DeMille, who of course would go on to create The King of Kings (1927), featuringJacqueline Logan as the biblical femme fatale. When no royalties were forthcoming, Suratt sued Hays, DeMille, and screenwriter Jeanie MacPherson. She lost, left show business altogether, and reportedly, later became something of a religious zealot and a recluse. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, All Movie Guide less Click on Redball for More Info. <---per www.ovguide.com
 3. The Straight Way  18 Sep 1916   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0007399
Directed by Will S. Davis; Writing credits: Will S. Davis (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Mary Madison;   Herbert Heyes ... John Madison;   Glen White ... Dan Walters;   Claire Whitney ... Nell Madison;   Elsie Balfour ... Marion Madison;   Richard Turner ... Sullivan;   Richard Rendell ... Carey;   Fred Jones ... Burton;   T. Tamamoto ... Valet;  
 4. Jealousy  20 Nov 1916   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0006879
Plot: Jealousy - That terrible form of envy that makes a woman destroy her own happiness and that of others - shown in the - WILLIAM FOX Photo-play JEALOUSY with VALESKA SURATT
Directed by: Will S. Davis; Writing credits: Will S. Davis (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Anne Baxter;   Lew Walter ... Peter Martin;   Charline Mayfair ... Agnes Maynard;   Curtis Benton ... Roland Carney;   Joseph Granby ... Randolph Parsons;   George M. Adams ... George Baxter;   John Charles ;   Herbert Heyes;   Claire Whitney;  
 5. The Victim  25 Dec 1916   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0007515
Directed by: Will S. Davis; Writing credits: Will S. Davis (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Ruth Merrill;   Herbert Heyes ... Dr. Boulden;   Claire Whitney ... Edna Boulden;   John Charles ... Jack Higgins;   Joseph Granby ... Roy Barker;   Oscar Nye ... Dugan;   Charles Edwards ... Doc Burns;  
 6. The New York Peacock  05 Feb 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008368
Directed by : Kenean Buel; Writing credits: Mary Murillo (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Zena ;   Harry Hilliard ... Billy Martin;   Eric Mayne ... Mr. Martin;   Alice Gale ... The Mother;   Claire Whitney ... Billy's Wife;   William Black ... Graham (as W.W. Black);   John Mackin ... Miller ;   Frank Goldsmith ... Durrant;  
 7. She  23 Apr 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008565
Drama: Directed by; Kenean Buel; Writing credits: H. Rider Haggard (novel); Mary Murillo (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Ayesha, (aka 'She' );   Ben Taggart ... Leo Vincey (as Ben L. Taggart);   Miriam Fouche ... Ustane ;   Thomas Wigney Percyval ... Billali (as Wigney Percyval) ;   Tom Burrough ... Horace Holly;   Martin Reagan ... Job ;  
 8. The Slave  03 Jun 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008591
Drama: Directed by: William Nigh; Writing credits: William Nigh (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Caroline ;   Violet Palmer .... Dulce ;   Eric Mayne ....... Dr. Atwell ;   Herbert Heyes .... David Atwell ;   Edmund Burns ..... Egbert Atwell (as Edward Burns) ;   Edward Roseman ... Dr. ghoul (as Edwin Roseman) ;   Dan Mason ........ The Foissil;   Tom Brooke ....... Professor Winther;   Martin Faust ..... Author;   Martin Hunt;  
 9. The Siren  01 Jul 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008578
Western: Directed by: Roland West; Writing credits: Donald I. Buchanan (scenario); Walter Archer Frost (story)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Cherry Millard;   Clifford Bruce ... Derrick McClade;   Robert Clugston ... Burt Hall;   Isabel Rea ... Rose Langdon;   Cesare Gravina ... Her Father;   Armand Kaliz ... Armand (as Armand Kalisz);   Rica Scott ... Cherry's Maid ;   Curtis Benton ... Undetermined Role ;  
 10. Wife Number Two  29 Jul 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008772
Drama: Directed by: William Nigh; Writing credits: William Nigh (scenario)
Cast (in credits order)
Valeska Suratt ... Emma Rolfe;   Eric Mayne ... Dr. Charles Bovar ;   Mathilde Brundage ... His Mother ;   John Goldsworthy ... Rudolph Bulwer ;   Martin Faust ... Philip (as Martin J. Faust) ;   T. Jerome Lawler ... Leo (as T.J. Lawler) ;   Peter Lang ... Lhereux ;   Dan Mason ... Old Soldier ;   W.H. Burton ... Priest (as William Burton) ;   Danny Sullivan ... Lhereux's Son (as Dan Sullivan) ;   Lem F. Kennedy ... Heminway (as L.F. Kennedy) ;  
  A Rich Man's Plaything, on set - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!
11. A Rich Man's Plaything
 30 Sep 1917   Click on Redball for More Info. <---IMDb #0008513
Director: Carl Harbaugh; Writers: Carl Harbaugh (Writer) Randolph Lewis (Story); Drama Cast (In credits order) Marie Grandson, by: Valeska Suratt; "Iron Loyd, by: Edward Martindel; Ogden Deneau, by: John T. Dillon; Lawyer Sharp, by: Charles Craig; "Smash" Regan, by Robert Cummings; Mrs. Deneau, by: Gladys Kelly;
 Note: Fox had shot film on the East Coast. Many of them were stored at the Fox Studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In 1937 the vault caught on fire and most of Fox's silent films were completely destroyed. Unless someone has a private copy, of Valeska's films all were lost for ever. ...prsjr


Valeska Suratt
 "Silent Film Performers"
 Which is a terrific compilation of sources that are readily available to fans and researchers. You'll find the very well known, like Chaplin, Garbo and Valentino, to the obscure, such as Mabel Ballin (wife of director Hugo Ballin who occasionally stared in his films and supported larger stars like Tom Mix) and Valeska Suratt (who happened to be a Theda Bara "vamp" clone in the mid teens)
 Source: per Click on Redball for More Info.<--- ©1996 by Diane MacIntyre.


Theda Bara

 Valeska Suratt, age 33yrs in 1915
was at the Wells Theater in downtown Norfolk, VA. and was billed as`the ' most gorgeously gowned actress in America' in the 'photoplay' called 'The Soul of Broadway.'
 Source: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- <---See: [REF: Pilotonline.com]

 Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs in 1916
 In a 1916 article from Photoplay Magazine asserting that Miss Valeska SURATT, got $5,000 (a week, I believe) from Jerry Lasky (Parmount, in Hollywood, CA.) for one motion picture, an sizable amount for the time and put her in the top echelon of the early silent film stars.
That film had to be "The Immigrant," since it is the only movie she made for Mr. Lasky.

 Source: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- <---[REF: Mike #3]
 Miss Valeska SURATT, did not like Hollywood. I am trying to document this but it is my research implies that she left Lasky for Fox because Fox
Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [REF: Mike #3] See URL: Click on Redball for More Info.<--- http://www.cinemaweb.com/silentfilm/bookshelf/2realg2.htm

 Some 1915 Photos of Valeska SURATT, age 33yrs
Photo From © Luminous-Lint Llc 2009 - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska SURATT, age 33yrs  - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  Photo Valeska SURATT, age 33yrs  - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo! 
 Gelatin silver print, Private collection of Stephen White; Courtesy of the Stephen White Collection II
 This photograph was included in the book "Strauss-Peyton: Celebrity and Glamour" with an essay by Gail Buckland (Stephen White Editions, 2006).
 Source: Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: © Luminous-Lint Llc 2009

 Some 1916 "Vampire" Photos of Valeska SURATT, age 34yrs
Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 34yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  

 Some 1917 Photos of Valeska SURATT, age 35yrs
Photo Valeska Suratt, age 35yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 35yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 35yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, age 35yrs - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt and Gould?, from Mike McCormick December 3, 2009 - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt and Gould?, from Mike McCormick December 3, 2009 - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  

 c1917 - Valeska SURATT, age 35yrs and her long time Lover Wm. Billy GOULD, age 48yrs
Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  
 Source: Photo from Rachel Parker, Film Archivist, Library of Congress Click on Redball to send E-Mail rapa@loc.gov; Dated: Tue, Nov 24, 2009 6:10 am

 Some 1918, 1920 Photos of Valeska SURATT, (Move cursor over Thumbnail for more Infrormation)
Photo Valeska Suratt, Photographer Orval Hixon, Orval early 1900s from University of Kansas, Luna Insight Collestions - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, Photographer Orval Hixon, Orval early 1900s from University of Kansas, Luna Insight Collestions - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, Photographer Orval Hixon, Orval 1919 from University of Kansas, Luna Insight Collestions - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, Photographer Orval Hixon, Orval 1919 from University of Kansas, Luna Insight Collestions - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!   Photo Valeska Suratt, Photographer Orval Hixon, Orval 1919  from University of Kansas, Luna Insight Collestions - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  

New York Times Newspaper  The New York Times, New York, NY.
 Issue of February 2, 1950, Thursday,
 BILLY GOULD DIES AT 81; Comedian Had a Long Career in Minstrel Shows, Vaudeville
 Billy GOULD, a veteran comedian of minstrel shows, operettas, musical comedies, and vaudeville, died in a hospital here yesterday, after a long illness, at the age of 81yrs.  Born in this city [New York], of Irish parents he made his theatrical debut at age 15yrs [1884] with "Billy EMERSON's Minstrels" in San Francisco. Coming East, he played comedy roles in support of Fay TEMPLETON, Kate CASTLETON and Verna JARBEAU; and was also seen in "The New Yorkers" and the "Belle of New York"  He was with Valeska SURATT in vaudeville beforming the team of "GOULD and ASHLEY". He was a life member of the National Variety Artists.
 Source: New York Times Archives, Page 27, 120 words   Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Newspaper Clipping (.PDF Format)
 Note the reference that he was "With" Valeska SURATT, no mention that he "Married & Divorced" her?
 No Marriage record or Newspaper article has been found by this writer that they ever married or divorced!...prs

(Photo by Underwood and Underwood) -Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo! WEDNESDAY, JULY 26, 1961 (Terre Haute Newspaper)
DO YOU REMEMBER -- Valeska SURRATT was a Terre Haute woman who was a star in vaudeville, on the stage and in silent movies at the turn of the century. She once appeared here on the stage of the Hippodrome Theater in "The Red Rose"
Star Valeska SURRATT of Vaudeville
And Silent Pictures Lives in East.

Author: By Frances E. HUGHES, a Terre Haute newspaper reporter
     In retirement in Washington, D.C. with many memories of the glamor of being a star in silent pictures, vaudeville and musical comedy is Valeska SURRATT, who left Terre Haute many years ago for her rise to stardom.
Among the last appearances of "the toast of Broadway" in 1924, was when she appeared in "Spice" at the Winter Garden. In this she broke records and reached the top as a comedieanne.
The Broadway revue was writen by Jack LAIT, in whose one character she had appeared for years. At the Winter Garden, the show topped all high marks that had been set there by Al JOLSON.
     Miss SURRATT was brought to Terre Haute when she was five years old from Owensville,Click on Redball for More Info. [1.] a small town in southern Indiana where she was born. Since they did not register births in those days, her sister, Mrs. Leah (Surratt) HINCHLIFFE of Hollywood, Cal. says she thinks it was 1884
     HER MOTHER'S PARENTS had come from England, buying land in Owensville from the government, and her father's parents had come from France. Prefering to roam the wide open spaces, Valeska loathed school. By the time she was 12 or 13 years old, she had definitely made up her mind to be an actress. Every night she would make wishes on the stars.
     After graduating from public school, she went to work for the Clare Sisters photograph shop on South Seventh Street. She saved her money until she had enough to go to Indianapolis. There she learned the 'Miliners' trade and became a buyer in a wholesale house.
     By that time, when Leah SURRATT was about 12 years old, she bought a Honduras lottery ticket for 25-cents and won $1,000 When Valeska SURRATT read of it in the paper, she hurried home, took her sistor's money and went to New York to make a career as an actress. Her only public appearance had been singing in the choir of the old Presbyterian Church on Cherry Street.
     HER EFFORTS to become a chorus girl in one of the Broadway shows came to no avail for they would have nothing to do with this tall, thin girl with her hair combed straight back and her shirtwaist and skirt style.
     At the time, casting was being done for a show called "The Belle of Mayfair," a show already playing in London. Ernest Edelston was searching all over New York for a "Gibson Girl" for a special number. He was sent to London to try to find the right type, and there, one night at the Savoy Hotel, he saw his "Gibson Girl" coming down the steps into the dining room with a party of friends.
     It was Valeska SURRATT and she was wearing a black velvet princess sheath gown, not low in front but to the waistline in back, that she had made.
"There," cried Mr. Edelston, "There is my Gibson Girl." But she is not an actress, friend told him, "That's some society dame." "Well," returned Edelston, "she is going to be in actress if I have to drag her by the hair of the head back to New York on the next boat"
     NATURALLY, Valeska SURRATT jumped at the offer. She was a sensation overnight with her throaty, vibrant voice which thrilled millions. Although she was originally a singer and dancer, she also was clever in her portrayals of drama and high comedy.
     After her original success, several managers called to offer her starring roles. Oscar Hammerstein offered to star her in vaudeville at $2,500 a week. She started at $2,500 a week but after the first night was raised to $3,000.
      When "The Belle of Mayfair" closed, Valeska put together an act and started on her vaudeville career, which she played in off and on for almost 40 years. Her bookings were with the Keith-Orpheum Circuit.
     She also co-starred with Weber and Fields in "The Kiss Waltz," produced, directed and starred in "The Red Rose" which she played in Terre Haute, and one of her last appearances was in the Frolics of 1929 at the Winter Garden in New York.
     VALESKA SURRATT went into the movies as a Fox Star and made 11 moving pictures in the days of silent pictures, with Jesse LASKY, Cecil DeMILLE and Herbert BRENNAN among her directors.
     Her summer vacations were spent in Europe and partley in Terre Haute with her family. She married twice, first to William GOULD and after his death to Fletcher NORTON, who is also dead.
     Suffenly she gave up all the glamour and devoted years to studuing and writing on religious subjects. Her charities to relatives and frends had always been outstanding, and during World War I she gave $500 a week of her salary for war effort and a large sum to the Red Cross. She had made a lot of money and much of it in line with her religious beliefs, she had given away.
 Source: Sent to us by Judy Jahries, Feb 06, 2003
  Click on Redball for More Info.<--- [REF:#005]


 Possible Record Problems!
 [1.] 

 VALESKA SURATT and Women’s Control over their Visual Presentation, 1900-1920
 Dated: Revised: July 1-7, 2005
Valeska SURATT, age 34yrs  - Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo! Valeska Suratt was one of four women in show business during the first 20 years of the 20th century who controlled every aspect of her visual presentation and representation. She, Annette Kellerman, and Eva Tanguay share certain career trajectories. Alla Nazimova is a separate case. Suratt, Kellerman, and Tanguay all made their reputations in vaudeville and determined the signal features of their styles there. All were daughters of lower middle class families and lacked refined voices and easy manners. All would play leads in Broadway musicals and revues. All would make films during the second decade of the century. All cultivated reputations as sexual provocateurs.
 Suratt is now best known as a "silent screen vamp, a black widow in a spider web gown." Yet she was the most adventurous explorer of feminine visual personae on stage or screen. Born in Owensville, Indiana, on June 28, 1882, Valeska moved with her family to Terra Haute, Indiana. There as a teenager she first encountered the world of fashion working as a retoucher in the Clare Sisters Photography Shop. Avid to own the sorts of dresses worn by the fashionable subjects of the Clare Sisters’ sittings, she saved her money, moved to Indianapolis, and trained as a milliner. An acute student of design and a skilled seamstress, she was hired at age 17 [1899] to be a wholesale buyer for W. H. Block’s Department Store in Terra Haute. She began making knock-offs for herself of the latest New York and Parisian frocks. Seized by a desire to be a stage performer, she convinced her mother in 1904 [age 22yrs] to move to Chicago to secure dance and voice training. After two years of intense tutelage, [1906] she moved to New York City. Designing a gown that combined the most striking features of the year’s fashion, she made a stairway descent at a swank hotel favored by theatrical producers and caught the eye of Edward Edleston who featured her in "The Belle of Mayfair." [Dec. 1906]
     She stopped the show singing "Why do they all call me a Gibson Girl?" When the show closed, she ventured into vaudeville, where her throaty singing, rambunctious dancing with comic Billy GIBSON, and her smart ensembles made her by 1910 the hottest name on the Kieth Circuit. She interrupted her continual touring to appear on Broadway in 1907’s musical comedy "Hip! Hip! Hooray!" and 1910’s "The Girl With the Whooping Cough" whose risqué business prompted a police shut-down.
     The patrician proprieties of Gibson Girl dress quickly palled. In vaudeville novelty and audacity had to be mixed with glamour. The skit format of vaudeville encouraged continual experiment and adjustment. Suratt exploited the permissions, seizing control of all aspects of her production. She designed sets, costumes, instructed writers on content, hired collaborators, and determined her publicity. Having worked in a photography shop as a girl, she knew all about the means of producing effective images. She chose photographers who specialized in certain styles of portraiture.
     Gould & Marsden, one of New York’s first fashion studios, shot Suratt as an aristocratic woman of mode.
     Orval Hixon, the Bohemian experimentalist in Kansas City, shot her as a Gothic femme fatale.
     Moffett Studio in Chicago, famed for its collection of classical statuary and props, portrayed her as a coy classical nymph flirting with a statue.
     E. T. Monroe of White Studios preferred to show her as clothes horse showing off the latest mode in gowns and headdress.
     Her most enduring connection was with Bert Underwood of the nationally syndicated diversified image company, Underwood & Underwood. Bert Underwood appreciated Suratt’s more audacious impulses. In his photos he reveals Suratt pushing clothing design beyond tact into a kind of spectacle dress. These eye-dazzling outfits combined brash vulgarity with high style silhouette.
     As Suratt grew older, her face and figure grew more removed from youthful charm. She compensated with more extravagant costume and gesture. With the WWI vogue for female vampires ignited by Theda Bara in "A Fool There Was," Suratt saw and opportunity to prolong her career. Having first appeared in movies in 1915, she urged Fox to make her a siren in 1917. They did and in a series of films–"She," "The Slave," "The Siren," – she became a feminine incarnation of danger. With Bara, Louise Galum, and Virginia Pearson, Suratt is accounted by film historians as one of the four classic silent screen vamps. Her film career was relatively brief, in part because she was never granted the control over production she desired. Only Alla Nazimova would secure that privilege. Suratt returned to Broadway and the vaudeville houses where she would tour until the late 1930s.
     Among Valeska Suratt’s photographs a high percentage feature her standing full figure. They advertised her shape (the hourglass figure that would be supplanted by the slimmer profile of Irene Castle and Lillian Loraine in 1914) and the ensemble that she designed. While she frequently appeared with props, her stage portraiture does not show her with any other performer, except for a series of dance routine production shots taken early in her career. The purpose of a photo for Suratt was to demonstrate that she was the whole show. By: Dr. David S. Shields, Department of English, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208; His Source Anonymos Click on Redball for More Info. <--See: Broadway Photographs: Art Photography & The American Stage 1900-1930
 Possible Record Problems!
 [1.] 

(Photo by Forget The Talkies) -Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo!  Published: Saturday, September 27, 2008
 Forget The Talkies!
 Valeska Suratt: Theda's Rival


<---Click on Thumbnail for larger Photo!
 The Vamp was a fine art. Helen Gardner thought of it before Theda, but didn't perfect it. Theda came along in 1914 and nailed it. Alla Nazimova tried to artiste` it and failed miserably. Then came Nita who was Queen until vamps became passe. But while Theda reigned another actress took a swipe at her Vamp Crown: Valeska Suratt.
 Yes this former Gibson Girl decided she could give the Jewish bookworm a run for her money in the fine art of vamping. But the story of Valeska is so twisted and forgotten I fear I won't be able to do it justice, even with my infamous 5 minutes of googling. The summary of her can be put like this: She was the Posh Spice of her day, used her sister's winnings to her advantage, was a little kooky, and took on that occasional jackass Cecil B DeMille thus ending her film career. Consider this a Introducing.../Complete Filmography/Usual Vamp Rant.
 Valeska's birth is a mystery. I question that being her real name but the records swear by it. It is usually given she was born June 22nd, 1882 in Terre Haute, Indiana...yet another source gives her as being born in Owensville, Indiana in 1884, only to move to Terre Haute around age 5. She was of English and French descent, with her grandparents being immigrants. She hated school, and by age 12 or so she decided she was going to be an actress.
 Movies not being the thing yet this meant Vaudeville and Broadway. She graduated, worked odd jobs, and eventually made it to Indianapolis. Her career beginning is horribly delicious. Her 12 year old sister (how old this made Valeska I do not know) Leah had bought a lottery ticket and won $1,000. Valeska rushed home, took the money, and headed for New York City! I don't like to put this in blog form as its not very journalistic but: LOL!
 She tried her luck but failed miserably, apparently moving to Chicago for dancing and singing lessons. There she met her first husband Billy Gould, and ended up touring South Africa and London via vaudeville. Now 24, she moved back to New York where she still kinda failed until a man named Ernest Edelston cast her as a ever popular at the time Gibson Girl in his new play "The Belle of Mayfair" which would play on Broadway. Rumor has it he seen her come down the stairs at a party in a backlass black dress thus impressing him tremendously. Supposedly she had never done any acting, her performances based on singing and dancing. But Edelston swore her could make her an actress.
 Valeska was an overnight sensation; with her throaty voice pleasing every crowd. The play was a smashing success. She was given many offers, eventually making $3,000 a week in vaudeville. A WEEK! NOT in pictures...yet! Valeska put together her own act, an act she would do on and off for 40 some years. Within 4 years of her Broadway debut the New York Dramatic Mirror called her "Vaudeville's Greatest Star".
 Thanks to her fame she began to buy expensive costumes, and became known for her fashion. She reportedly spent $25,000 a show on fashion. She bought a spacious house in Terre Haute where the rooms reportedly overflowed with her clothing. Ever generous she let her parents live there and her sister run a hotel she owned. In 1911 she began writing a syndicated beauty and skin column. She continued her vaudeville career with "The Kiss Waltz" and "The Red Rose" (which she directed, produced, and starred in).
 Being so popular Valeska was naturally offered film contracts. In 1915 (aged 33!!!) Valeska debuted in pictures with "The Immigrant" for Paramount. It is now lost (as is all her films, we'll get there in a minute). Interestingly enough this film also contained a no0b also fresh from Broadway, named Thomas Meighan.
 The film was so successful that Fox outbid Paramount and offered to let her stay in New York (at a time when pictures were heading West). She reportedly made $5,000 a week during this time, giving $500 a week to the Red Cross during WW1. FOX for reasons I'd probably have to pick up a Theda biography to understand, decided to turn Valeska into a vamp. She'd been playing a few vampy/exotic styled roles as early as 1908, but she surely wasnt known for it. This is where things get sketchy.
 In the next few years she either made 5 or 12 films...its hard to tell since they are ALL lost. If she made 12 then IMDB is missing one; and they list her in a guest appearance before "The Immigrant" so likely 2 are missing total. Valeska continued appearing on vaudeville as well, with her very last performance of any kind being an appearance in The Frolics of 1929. But to make things even more confusing she likely quit making films by 1917. Why is unknown. That would mean she only did film for 2 years. Did she concede to Theda (who would have been at the height of her fame during this time)? Why did she quit and return to stage? We do not know. However she continued being very popular in Broadway, with a 1924 performance of "Spice" that broke several box office records, and reportedly was the peak of her comedic skills.
 To make things even more interesting, the sometimes shady Cecil B DeMille (he was, read Gloria's autobiography), apparently ripped off her play about Mary Magdalene for his film "King of Kings" in 1927 causing her to sue his ass. This effectively blacklisted her. The case went to trial in 1930, but settled out of court.
 After her forced retirement, she did very little. Her husband died and she remarried to Fletcher Norton, apparently divorcing him at some point. According to a 1961 newspaper article on her, Valeska settled down, and devoted her time to studying and writing about her religious beliefs. She said the reason for her Red Cross donations were these same beliefs. She died in 1962, at the age of 80, in a retirement home in Washington DC. She was buried in her hometown of Terre Haute.
 Lost to the Ages
 The most interesting thing about Valeska is her tiny film career. Vamps have horrible survival rates, but hers truly would be hard to ''top''. Reportedly NONE of her films survive. In fact the NUMBER of films she even made is up for debate, with the number being between 5 and 12. Indeed 11 titles are recorded for her, but whether she was actually in them, or how well they did (beyond her initial success with "The Immigrant") is unknown. To go off magazine records can only be so helpful, as occasionally titles would be listed that were never made (for example a 1922 mag lists Valentino in the upcoming "Spanish Cavalier" a film he never made because of his one man strike).
 As unbelievable as it sounds, its not super unlikely all her films are lost. She made one film for Paramount, in 1915. The other ''11'' (if they indeed number that high) would have been for Fox, a studio which had most of its films burned in 1937. So, not IMPOSSIBLE, but terribly sad if true. ***Update*** Below is the official film count, all of which was updated in this article.
Valeska and Theda were similar in a lot of ways. Unfortunately Valeska beat Theda only where she really probably didn't want to, with Theda winning the real battles. Theda was 29 when she entered film, Valeska was 33 and married. Theda debuted as a sensation in 1914, Valeska in 1915. Theda is known for having a low film survival rate with only 6 surviving full films, Valeska has none. Theda reached her height by 1920 or so, Valeska by 1917 (film wise, 1924 Broadway wise). Theda retired as a bitchy director's wife (he was bitchy, not her), Valeska became a crazy Christian recluse and died in extreme obscurity.
 As usual the usual thanks is needed for the obscure info found here. Thanks to the Silent Society, for blurbing her in their quarterly newsletter. And Thanks to this site which is (I assume) run by her descendants. I find Valeska a great mystery, so let's see if we can solve it!
Posted by Hala Pickford
 Source: Click on Redball for More Info. <--See: Forget The Talkies

 Published: March 14, 2009 10:52 pm
HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE: Looking at the twists and turns in the life of Valeska Suratt
By Mike McCormick - Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — On the Broadway stage and the silent screen, Terre Haute actress Valeska Suratt skillfully exhibited a handful of personalities.
The more one studies the twists, turns and contradictions in her life, the easier it is to accept her enigmatic behavior.
But acceptance does not answer the question that has plagued historians for seventy years: Who was the real Valeska Suratt? Coquette, vamp, humanitarian or religious zealot? Perhaps she was all three.
Born June 28, 1882, near Owensville in Gibson County, Indiana, Valeska moved to 323 N. 17th St., in Terre Haute, during 1889 with her parents, Ralph and Anna, stepsister Myrtle Strickland, older brother Austin and younger sister Leah.
Her grandparents were immigrants. Her father’s parents, natives of France, spelled their name, “Surratt.” Her mother’s parents came from England.
Ralph opened a blacksmith shop near 14th and Wabash. Valeska’s younger brother Richard Surratt, known as “Judge,” was born in 1891 at Terre Haute.
According to sister Leah, Valeska decided at age 12 that she wanted to be in show business. Leah told Terre Haute newspaper reporter Frances Hughes in 1961, Valeska made “wishes on the stars” every night.
Valeska apparently quit attending school in 1899 and secured a job with the Albert Le Clear Photograph Studio. Saving money, she was able to travel to Indianapolis, where went to work for $5 a week at William H. Block department store.
Bright and vivacious, she changed the spelling of her surname and decided she had to improve her voice and dance skills. After two years in Indianapolis, she relocated to Chicago, taking with her a cheap poster of Polish-born actress Anna Held, common law wife of Florenz Ziegfield known for her flirtatious nature and risque songs.
While attending a party at Chicago’s Wellington Hotel during August 1902, Valeska met Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich of Russia, who asked to take her to lunch. Known for his brash and unpredictable behavior, Boris asked Suratt if there was something she would really like to do. “Yes,” she responded, “I want to go on the stage.”
According to her interview in Photoplay magazine years later, the Grand Duke wrote Valeska a check for $10,000 with no strings attached. Suratt said she sent most of the money home to help her family and used the rest to travel to New York City.
Leah told Frances Hughes that Valeska “borrowed” about $1,000 Leah had won in a Honduras lottery to pay her way to New York. On Oct. 19, 1902, Valeska’s 23-year old brother Austin fell under a Big Four train at the Greencastle depot and was killed. She was devastated by the loss.
Before relocating to New York, Valeska met and married vaudeville comedian and dancer Billy Gould and the couple trekked to South Africa, a country starving for entertainment, for several months, and then to England.
In the summer of 1906, Edward Edelston, producer of the musical comedy “The Belle of Mayfair,” saw Suratt’s hour glass figure on the staircase at London’s Hotel Savoy in a homemade backless black velvet gown. He quickly concluded that she was “the perfect Gibson girl” he needed for the play. Upon discovering that Valeska had untapped talent, he asked composer Leslie Stuart to integrate song and dance routines into her character. The song, “Why Do They Call Me a Gibson Girl?,” was a staple. The play opened at New York’s Daly Theater in December 1906. It was a sensation — “almost the best yet in musical comedy.” — and Suratt was the catalyst. Stuart’s music, according to the New York Times, had “all the charm, all the novelty of that which he wrote for ‘Florodora.’ Occasionally, it is superior.”
Valeska was so captivating that Edna May, the dazzling American actress-singer who overwhelmed London audiences for two years in “The Belle of New York,” almost caused international incident by quitting the cast. The New York Times wrote:
“As a matter of fact, ‘Why Do They Call Me a Gibson Girl?,’ is the sort of song to make any actress jealous of another’s opportunity to sing it, and with its novel specialty of living Gibson pictures it created another sensation at Daly’s last night.”
But Suratt disliked Hollywood so she abandoned movies. Between 1917 and 1929, “The Queen of Vaude” returned to New York in triumph, shattering Al Jolson’s crowd record at the Winter Garden. She also became a screenwriter and a Biblical scholar.
During World War I, Valeska quietly donated $500 a week to the American Red Cross. When parts of her screenplay, “Mary Magdalene” were adapted by Cecil B. DeMille in his silent film masterpiece, “The King of Kings,” she sued. The case was tried in February 1930 but it was settled without publicity. Afterwards, it seems, Suratt was blacklisted. Valeska disappeared and was found years later living as a hermit in a small New York hotel. She died in a nursing home in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1962.
 Source:
Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: Tribune-Star, Story   Click on Redball for More Info. <---See: SFA© REF:#004]

  Source & Reference Notes! Suratt, Valeska 1882-1962
 [REF:#001]   Biography and
  Genealogy Master Index
 (BGMI) 1114130
Is listed in the following: Encyclopedia of Vaudeville. By Anthony Slide. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1994. (EncVaud)
 [REF:#002]   Filmarama. Volume I:
  "The Formidable Years, 1893-1919." Compiled by John Stewart. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1975. (Film 1)
 [REF:#003]   Silent Film Performers.  An annotated bibliography of published, unpublished, and archival sources for over 350 actors and actresses. By Roy Liebman. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1996. (SilFlmP)
 [REF:#004]   Twenty Years of Silents,
 1908-1928.
  Compiled by John T. Weaver. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1971. "The Players" section begins on page 27. (TwYS)
 [REF:#005]   Who Was Who on Screen.  Second edition. By Evelyn Mack Truitt. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1977. (WhScrn 77)
 [REF:#006]   Who Was Who on Screen.   Third edition. By Evelyn Mack Truitt. New York: R.R. Bowker Co., 1983. (WhScrn 83)
 [REF:#007]   Who's Who in Hollywood,   1900-1976. By David Ragan. New Rochelle, NY: Arlington House, 1976. The "Late Players (1900-1974) section begins on page 539. (WhoHol B)
 [REF:#008]   Silent Ladies   Click on Redball for More Info.<--- http://silent-movies.com/Ladies/annex/SLAnnex22.html
 [REF:#009]   Theda Featured Book;   Click on Redball for More Info.<--- http://www.mdle.com/ClassicFilms/FeaturedBook/book23.htm
 [REF:#010]   Theda Featured Star   Click on Redball for More Info.<--- http://www.mdle.com/ClassicFilms/FeaturedStar/star56.htm

Goto SFA© Father Ralph M. SURRATT Index
Goto SFA© State Index
Goto SFA© All Family Index
Goto SFA© Homepage
Goto SFA© Ref. & Source Notes
Goto SFA© Queries

Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.! - Click on Thumbnail for Larger Photo!  These records are part of the "Genealogy Computer Package" *** PC-PROFILE *** Volume - II. Sarratt/Sarrett/Surratt Family Profile© Compiled and self Published in Oct. 31, 1989 by Paul R. Sarrett, Jr. with the assistance of my late mother Click on Redball for More Info. Mrs. M. Lucille (WILSON) SARRETT (1917-1987) These 1989 "Work-Books" were compiled by listing the various families, born, married, died, and a history of that family branch. In 1996 I started "Up-Loading" this material on the now called SFA© Series...prs
Would like to exchange any information on these SARRATT / SARRETT / SURRATT Families, contact me at:

Click on Here for E-Mail Address Paul R. Sarrett, Jr., President of SFA© Auburn, CA.
Text - Copyright © 1996-2009 Paul R. Sarrett, Jr.
Created: Dec. 01, 1996; Feb 06, 2003;  Mar 09, 2009;  Nov 25, 2009;