A brunette beauty whose charismatic singing and outré dancing made her a star of musical comedies during the first decade of the 20th century, Lotta Faust epitomized the "girl with personality" so celebrated in the popular culture of that moment. Like most of the actresses of her generation, she debuted on the stage in her mid-teens, appearing in 1896's "The Sunshine of Paradise Alley," but did not win fame until her role as Trixie in 1904's smash hit, "The Wizard of Oz." She toured in that production for a year.
Comedian-manager Joe Weber saw Lotta Faust as a possible successor to the aging Lillian Russell as chief comic songstress of his troupe, and hired her in 1906. She played in his musical farces for the final four years of her life, before expiring of pneumonia in 1910. Artists and the public believed that she had the most beautiful shoulders and back of any woman on the stage. She played to this prejudice, wearing scoop-backed costumes and gowns. David S. Shields/ALS