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Eliza Weathersby

Biography: 

(1845-1887)

A Cockney by birth, and one of the first queen of transatlantic burlesque, Eliza Weathersby took to the stage and debuted in a provincial theater after abandoning a life as a music teacher in 1865. She jokingly described herself as a "singing chambermaid" sort of performer, but she operated as a soubrette in the burlesques in which she found employment. She first appeared in America four years later. Appearing in a burlesque of "Lucretia Borgia" at the Chestnut Theatre in Philadelphia, she quickly established herself as a good-natured, fun-loving performer with a talent for friendship and an endearing trait of self-mockery. She initially appeared as a member of the Lydia Thompson British Blondes, one of the second contingent of that famous troupe to appear.

In 1877 she married comedian Nat Goodwin and trouped with him for seven years in vehicles such as "Froliques" until disease forced her from the stage. Beautiful to behold, blessed with a pleasant voice, she worked at improving her skills as a conventional actress, and at the time of her retirement in 1884, she was reckoned quite convincing. She died from shock after an operation to remove her fallopian tubes in 1888. David S. Shields/ALS