Lottie Briscoe

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Lottie Briscoe was born on April 19th, 1870 in St. Louis, Missouri. As a child she appeared on the stage with one of the most famous actors of the age, Richard Mansfield, from whom she learned a great deal about her craft.

She made her first movies with the Essanany Company in Chicago in 1909 before moving on to make a few films for the IMP Company. She arrived at the Lubin studios in February of 1912 where she was cast opposite the studio’s popular male lead, Arthur V. Johnson.  Briscoe and Johnson made dozens of films together over three years, including one of the first serial films, The Beloved Adventurer series, which Johnson directed.  She proved to be a popular star for Lubin and her on-screen chemistry with Johnson was such that fan magazines speculated that they were actually married.

Briscoe, who somehow existed as a movie star without an agent, secretary or even a maid, handled her own affairs and was fiercely protective of her status as a movie star. In 1913, when a play in New York included a movie star character named “Lottie Briscoe,” the real Lottie Briscoe decided that the portrayal was unflattering and sued the theater.

However, in 1915, Lubin began to recruit famous actors from the theater and star them in his new feature-length films.  Now in her forties, with her youthful beauty beginning to fade, Briscoe was offered lesser parts in these feature films, but refused them. With her friend and co-star Arthur Johnson increasingly unable to work, Lottie Briscoe decided to leave the Lubin studios. According to noted Hollywood writer Norbert Lusk, who worked for Lubin in 1914 and 1915:

“Humble pie did not appeal to the palette of Lottie Briscoe. She refused to have anything to do with any all star cast, packed her belongings and trudged to the station in red-heeled shoes, lugging a heavy suitcase and passing out of pictures forever.”

She made only one more film, for Metro pictures in Hollywood in 1918, before retiring from the movies for good. Lottie Briscoe died on March 21st, 1950 in New York City at the age of 79.

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