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Lois Meredith 1919

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posted by Dave Miller alias puzzlemaster on Saturday 17th of May 2014 01:46:17 PM

Lois Meredith, aka Sara Lois Neely American actress I found this passport photo of “cinema artist” Sara Lois Meredith Neely while trawling through the passport applications at ancestry.com. In trying to identify her I found that she bore a striking resemblance to Broadway and film actress, Lois Meredith. The confusing thing is that the biography of this actress at imdb.com does not agree with the facts given in her passport applications (1917, 1918, Oct 1919, Dec 1919 and 1922). Her travel documents say that Sara Lois Meredith Neely was born in Pittsburgh or Alleghany, PA on the 3rd of December 1890, daughter of Harry E. Neely and Sara Jane Skelly. IMDB states that she was born in Atlantic Iowa on June 27th 1897. (Note: IMDB has accepted my correction and changed her birth name, birth date and place in her bio.) Motion Picture Studio Directory for 1919 (at ancestry.com) tersely gives “b, 1898; educ. abroad” as biographical info. Besides the physical resemblance, several other facts contained in the passport applications convince me that this Sara Neely is, in fact, Lois Meredith. •Her 1917 application says that Sara Lois Neely is professionally known as “Lois Meredith”. •Sara Neely’s 1918 application also refers to her as "Lois Meredith" and states that she is going to Europe to entertain the soldiers in connection with the Over There Theatre League. No less a figure than Alexander Woollcott praised actress Lois Meredith for this activity in an Oct 27th, 1918 article in the New York Times. •She is referred to as “Miss Meredith” in a note that accompanies her December 1919 entry. •Lois Meredith is buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh as “Lois Neely Meredith”. On the negative side, the signature of “Sara Lois Meredith Neely” does not compare well with an example autograph of “Lois Meredith” that I have seen on-line. I can imagine several plausible explanations for this but, on the whole, the facts listed here persuade me that the passport applications of the Pittsburg-born actress are the same Lois Meredith profiled erroneously by IMDB. Some other fun facts about Lois Meredith: •She was born on the corner of Sandusky and Hancock Streets, in Pittsburgh, according to her father. . Lois Meredith was reported to be close friends with another actress from the Pittsburg area, Olive Thomas. When Olive died in Paris in 1920, Lois was in town and had been partying with the Pickfords. •Her purported friendship with Olive Thomas makes particular sense as both women came from Irish families in Pittsburgh, moved to New York to act on the stage and, after achieving some success, took up careers in cinema. •Her film career included leading roles opposite Will Rogers (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and war hero/author/actor Arthur Guy Empey (Over the Top). •Her experience entertaining the troops during the War probably led to her years acting in French cinema between 1919 and 1922. She had leading roles in three French films during those years. •In 1925, Lois Meredith sued British Col. Ian Dennistoun for breach of promise after he married the widow of the Earl of Carnarvon instead of her. She offered over 100 love letters as proof of his promises. The case was eventually dismissed, presumably after a settlement of some kind. Lois Meredith died January 15th, 1967 in New York. The Mini-biography in IMDB, which is not to be relied upon: “Date of Birth: 26th June 1897, Atlantic Iowa Date of Death: 15 January, 1967The daughter of a respectable psychologist, she was inspired to become an actress following a trip to Broadway in 1910 to see "The Girl With The Whooping Cough" starring Valeska Suratt. After receiving some education at the Professional Children's School she became active as a stage actress during the 1910s. She made her film debut in 1914 and went on to star in 22 motion pictures until 1937. During the Great Depression, she made a name for herself as a radio actress until her leave in 1939. She later became a well known drama teacher and educated hopefuls on the craft until the mid-1960s. Spouse: Harold Hatts (1936-1947) (her death) (4 children) Trivia: Stage actress. Infrequently appeared on Broadway from 1911-1926. She was the oldest of five siblings. She was a member of The Red Hat Society, The March of Dimes, and was a leader for Boy and Girl Scouts. Is buried in Allegheny Cemetery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”



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  • Published 08.09.22
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