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Hazel Dawn

Biography: 

(1891-1988)

Born "Hazel Tout" into a Mormon family in Utah, she was educated in Wales where her father had gone as a missionary. Her stage career began in the London music halls as a teen, where she was "The Dollar Princess." A beauty in the curvaceous style of the 1900s, she supplemented her good looks with a pleasant singing voice and an engaging stage manner. She lacked the gravity to be a dramatic leading lady, so she played supporting roles most of her career and prospered in them.

Debuting on Broadway in 1911 in "The Pink Lady," Dawn's three year run in the musical prompted college boys to nickname her after the play. As a follow-up Victor Herbert wrote "The Debutante" as a vehicle for her. It did not prove do be a success, so he tried again, this time with Irving Berlin as a collaborator and Florenz Ziegfeld as a producer. "The Century Girl" ran for 200 performances in New York before making a lucrative road trip.

During the lull between productions, she joined the Famous Player movie company and appeared in a dozen features, none of which provided an adequate vehicle for her talents. In the early 1920s she played to her strengths, appearing in the cast of mildly risque entertainments such as "The Demi-Virgin" and "Getting Gertie's Garter."

In 1927 Dawn married a wealthy mining engineer and retired from the stage. She died in 1988 at age 98, outliving the long-lived Ruth Gordon, who claimed Hazel Dawn was her childhood idol and inspiration to become an actress. David S. Shields/ALS