Julia's Retirement

The Washington Post, Wednesday, April 19, 1915:

Arrangements have been completed for the testimonial dinner to be given at the Hotel Astor, New York, next Monday by the Civic Forum for E. H. Sothern and Julia Marlowe on the occasion of their permanent retirement from the stage.  Hamilton W. Mable is chairman of the committee, which includes Joseph H. Choate, Brander Matthews, Winthrop Ames, Augustus Thomas, Henry Clews, Walter Damrosch, E. H. Blashfield, Marcus M. Marks, George McAneny, Daniel C. French, A. Barton Hepburn, Talcott Williams, Paul D. Cravath, Isaac N. Seligman and Robert Erskine Ely.


The Washington Post, from The New York Independent, Friday September 17, 1915:

"I am hungry for the real world--I want to live life, not act it."

Julia Marlowe

The Washington Post, Wednesday, August 4, 1915:

Julia Marlowe, Owing to Illness, Will Never Again Act, Says Sothern

Special to The Washington Post:  Hartford Conn, Aug. 3:

Julia Marlowe will never act again on the stage according to a statement made this afternoon by her husband and costar, Edward H. Sothern, at Litchfield, Conn., where they are summering.

"Miss Marlowe, my wife, has absolutely retired," said the actor. "Her illness has made it impossible for her to play and it will be the first time she has not been with me.  I myself am beginning to feel that the strain on my vitality is much greater than formerly."

Asked if Miss Marlowe had given up all idea of acting again, Mr. Sothern emphasized the fact that she was completely broken down, adding "It is too great an effort for her to try again.  The price is too high.  It isn't worth it."

The Washington Post, Sunday, August 8, 1915:


Special to The Washington Post, New York, Aug. 7 -

"I am not retiring from the stage because I am ill.  That is absurd.  I never felt better or stronger in my life.  I am simply leaving the stage because there are so many other things in this world I'd rather do.

All my life I've lived in a mimic world--now I am hungry for the real world, full of genuine friendly people who will talk with me of their homes and small worries and not speak to me the lines some master wrote hundreds of years before I was born.  I want to live life--not act it."

Thus did Julia Marlowe yesterday deny the persistent rumor that ill health was forcing her retirement from the stage at this time when her star of fame and power is in it zenith, writes Ruth M. Byers, in the New York American:

Julia Marlowe retiring in her prime!  An incredulous world will not believe it.  But as I saw the happiness in Miss Marlowe's face, mirrored in those wonderful dark eyes of hers that seemed to have caught a new youthfulness.  I knew that she meant every word she said.  Julia Marlowe will never act again simply because the stage holds no further attraction for her.

We were talking of the announcement Miss Marlowe had just made in the den of the actress' beautiful summer home in the Berkshires in Litchfield, Conn.

"I feel as though I were seeing a new world with the unaccustomed eyes of one who has been in a far distant land," she declared.  "I want to enter into the things other women have been doing all these years I have been giving my life to the theatre.  Oh, I have it all planned out.  You shall see!"

"First of all, I am going to have my home."  That statement was typically Sothern.  Home has always meant everything to these two off stage, and E. H. Sothern, sitting on a low chair nearby nodded his emphatic approval.

"Do you know what home is going to mean to me?"  There was a curious wistfulness in Miss Marlowe's voice.  "It's going to be something stationary.  It isn't going to be on wheels that grind and get on my nerves.  It can't be shunted up side tracks.  My home is going to be far from bellboys and menu cards.  How sick I am of all of that sort of thing."

"I want my books and my great open fireplace; a couple of dogs, a few good servants, my friends and peace.  I have earned a rest.  The last time Mr. Sothern and I were en tour, we lived in 30 different houses in one season trying to keep up a pretense of a home.

"Only a very strong woman could keep up a repertoire such as mine and retain her health," she said, "And I am not willing to pay the price.  I am so well now.  I want to always enjoy life with the same unhampered joy I have put into my work.  I shall travel leisurely with long stops--not one-night stands.  I shall read--for hours at a time."

Miss Marlowe smiled whimsically.  "That's just what it will mean.  Reading hours at a time, until I catch up with all the books and plays I have missed while I worked.  I want to live much out of doors.  Woman's club life interests me, and perhaps I shall spend some time with suffrage.  Who knows?  Some one who knew once said that 'the world is so full of a number of things, I am sure we all should be happy as kings.'  Life isn't going to be nearly long eough, I'm afraid, for all the joy I want to pack into it."

Julia Marlowe grows more beautiful, yes, and younger looking every day.  It would have been beyond feminine powers not hto have had the least bit of curisoity as to the secret of 'how she did it."

"I am afraid you are flattering me now, Miss Marlow laughed at the question.  "But if you really want a serious answer, I should say that simplicity is the real secret of all beauty.  Simple living, simple desires and simple clothes--these are things that make pretty women.  Next comes worry--or, rather, its elimination.  Women who do not worry never have crow's feet around their eyes and seldom get on speaking terms with wrinkles.  And last--but best of all--be happy if you would be beautiful."

"You can't change your features, but you make your eyes show, the fun of life.  Beautiful eyes are a woman's greatest asset.  And let me add this tiny postscript for the girls who want to kow what I think beauty demands--soap and water, and lots of it.  That's rather prosaic, isn't it?  My only reason for adding that suggestion is that New York is filled with girls who are daily ruining their complexions with cosmetics.  They need the gospel of soap and water very badly."

Then we started talking of girls and Julia Marlowe grew very serious as she told me of the things she wished she could say to girls who wanted to go on the stage.

"My heart aches for the thousands of girls daily tramping up and down Broadwy looking for positons in the companies now being made up," Miss Marlowe said.  "To every girl who is there, trying bravely and persistently to get on the stage because she has an inborn instinct that she can act, I would say stay until circumstances force you out.  For this is a game, this theatrical life, were only those who stick, win out."

"But the girls who are caught by the glamour of the footlights, who try to get on the stage because it looks easy--those are the girls who were far better at home.  Also Broadway counts them by the thousands, too.  That's the pitiful part of it all."

"Let me tell you what a girl must have is she would even get a foothold on the stage:  she must first of all have a pleasing personality or be good looking, or both.  Looks count mightily.  People pay the box office to have their eyes pleased.  I would pick out the girl with a deep broad chest, good health, clear eyes and a pretty face every time in any number of aspirants."

"Then a girl must have a definite emotional capacity.  By that I do not mean the ability to cry easily.  A girl must have a great capacity for emotion of she will never have enough to get over the footlights.  She must have courage, too, for at first this is the most discouraging work in the world.  Above everything else, she must have infinite capacity for hard work. "

"Genius is the same the world over.  I'ts simply hard work with no let up.  Doesn't she combine all these qualities?  Did you ever see a finer lot of well-bred, cultured women, with unquestioned beauty of face and figure, low well-modulated voices, great emotional capacity and an ulimited capacity for hard work?"

"The tragedy of girls on the stage today is that so pitifly few of them are every ready.   If they are pretty then get lazy and think that their looks will carry them through.  It will--for one season.  But they'll be soon be looking for a job the next."

The Washington Post, Friday, January 21, 1916:

Sotherns To Quit Stage

Famous Couple Will Retire to Country Home in Warwickshire.

Special to The Washington Post  - New York, Jan. 20 -

At the end of the current theatrical season, E. H. Sothern will retire from the stage, and with Mrs. Sothern, whom the public knows as Julia Marlowe, will go to England to take up a permanent abode.  Mrs. Sothern gave up playing some time ago because of ill heath, and although she has completely recovered, she adheres to her decision not to resume her career as an actress.

"It is a little premature to say that I am going to give up acting," said Mr. Sothern last night, "because I shall not quit till the end of the season.  I do intend to retire then, and Mrs. Sothern and I will go to England to remain permanently.

"We have not decided definitely what we shall do there beyond the fact that we shall live in Warwickshire, in the country, far away from city life."

The Washington Post, Sunday, May 21, 1916:

Miss Julia Marlowe plans a brief return to the stage.  She will make her appearance as Mr. Sothern's leading woman in a the farewell performance of "If I Were King," at the Shubert Theatre, in New York next Saturday night.  Thus, the two distinguished players will take their departure together from a stage they have graced for many years before and since their marriage.