Maude Fealy

Maude Fealy
Born Maude Mary Hawk
(1883-03-04)March 4, 1883
Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.
Died November 9, 1971(1971-11-09) (aged 88)
Woodland Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 19001958
Spouse(s) Louis Hugo Sherwin (m. 1907–09)
James Durkin (m. 1909–17)
John Cort, Jr. (m. 1920–23)

Maude Fealy (March 4, 1883 November 9, 1971) was an American stage and silent film actress who survived into the talkie era.

Early life

Born Maude Mary Hawk[1] in 1883 in Memphis, Tennessee, the daughter of 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, she performed on stage with her mother and went on to make her Broadway debut in the 1900 production of Quo Vadis, again with her mother.

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 appeared in her first silent film in 1911 for Thanhouser Studios, making another eighteen between then and 1917, after which she did not perform in film for another fourteen 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[2] 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 herself. A newspaper article reporting on the invention may be genuine, or may be a publicity stunt created to promote the play. Other plays authored or co-authored 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 an uncredited appearance in The Ten Commandments. Later in her career, she wrote and appeared in pageants, programs, and presented lectures for schools and community organizations.

Sunset Magazine 1901

Personal life

In Denver, she met a drama critic from a local newspaper named Louis (also seen as Hugo) [3] Sherwin. The two married in secret in 1907 [4] because, as they expected, her domineering mother did not approve. The couple soon separated, and a divorce in 1909 followed, with Fealy immediately marrying an actor named James Peter Durkin[5] who became a successful silent film director with Adolph Zukor's Famous Players Film Company.[6] That marriage ended in divorce (for non-support) [7] in 1917. Soon after this Fealy married James E. Cort. This third marriage also ended in a 1923 annulment and would be her last. She bore no children in any of the marriages.


Fealy died in 1971, aged 88, at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California.[8] She was interred in the Abbey of the Psalms Mausoleum at Hollywood Forever Cemetery.


  1. Baptism certificate, collection of Denver Center Theatre Company
  2. Maude Fealy Papers, WH1117, Western History Collection, The Denver Public Library
  3. Motion Picture Magazine, September 1917, p. 127
  4. Motion Picture Magazine, September 1917, p. 127
  5. James Durkin ; Internet Broadway Database(
  6. James Durkin listing
  7. Motion Picture Magazine, September 1917, p. 127
  8. DeMille actress Maude Fealy Dies - Long Beach Press-Telegram 10 November 10, 1971 p. 2
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