Born in a Colorado mining camp and trained at the University of Colorado, Schuyler Ladd trekked east upon graduation in search of fortune. He snagged a minor parts in "The Gay Life" and a revival of "Ben Hur," but in 1912 he happened upon the role that would define his career, the Chinese aesthete Wu Fah Din in George Hazelton's "The Yellow Jacket."
In tours and revivals he would play "Daffodil" over a thousand times in twenty-two years, making it one of the durable characters of the first half of the 20th century. While the effeminacy of the performance scared some producers from hiring him for other roles, David Belasco secured him to play Fred Gwynne in "Shore Leave" and Max Reinhardt made him the Prince in the famous spectacle drama, "The Miracle" (1924).
Still, somewhere in the United States at some theatre a manager would be staging "The Yellow Jacket," and the first call went out to the famous creator of the most famous role in the play. Ladd's final appearance on Broadway was in a 1929 revival. He played revivals until the mid-1930s when he fashioned a one-man evening of drama and amusement designed for dinner theaters. When World War II broke out, he adapted his one-man act for camp shows. David S. Shields/ALS