|Height:||168 cm (5' 7'')|
|Birth Day:||July 29, 1885|
|Death Date:||April 7, 1955(1955-04-07) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Birth Place:||Avondale, Ohio, United States|
As per our current Database, Theda Bara died on April 7, 1955(1955-04-07) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S..
|Height||Weight||Hair Colour||Eye Colour||Blood Type||Tattoo(s)|
|168 cm (5' 7'')||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Bara was born Theodosia Burr Goodman on July 29, 1885 in the Avondale section of Cincinnati, Ohio. She was named after the daughter of US Vice President Aaron Burr. Her father was Bernard Goodman (1853–1936), a prosperous Jewish tailor born in Poland. Her mother, Pauline Louise Françoise (née de Coppett; 1861–1957), was born in Switzerland. Bernard and Pauline married in 1882. Theda had two younger siblings: Marque (1888–1954) and Esther (1897–1965), who also became a film actress under the name of Lori Bara.
Bara attended Walnut Hills High School, graduating in 1903. After attending the University of Cincinnati for two years, she worked mainly in local theater productions, but did explore other projects. After moving to New York City in 1908, she made her Broadway debut the same year in The Devil.
Between 1915 and 1919, Bara was Fox studio's biggest star; but, tired of being typecast as a vamp, she allowed her five-year contract with Fox to expire. Her final Fox film was The Lure of Ambition (1919). In 1920, she turned briefly to the stage, appearing on Broadway in The Blue Flame. Bara's fame drew large crowds to the theater, but her acting was savaged by critics.
The origin of Bara's stage name is disputed; The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats says it came from director Frank Powell, who learned Theda had a relative named Barranger, and that Theda was a childhood nickname. In promoting the 1917 film Cleopatra, Fox Studio publicists noted that the name was an anagram of Arab death, and her press agents, to enhance her exotic appeal to moviegoers, falsely promoted the young Ohio native as "the daughter of an Arab sheik and a French woman, born in the Sahara." In 1917, the Goodman family legally changed its surname to Bara.
Bara married British-born American film director Charles Brabin in 1921. They honeymooned at The Pines Hotel in Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada, and later purchased a 400-hectare (990-acre) property down the coast from Digby at Harbourville, Nova Scotia, overlooking the Bay of Fundy, eventually building a summer home they called Baranook. They had no children. Bara resided in a villa-style home in Cincinnati, which served as the "honors villa" at Xavier University. Demolition of the home began in July 2011.
Bara is referenced in the 1921 Bert Kalmar/Harry Ruby song "Rebecca Came Back from Mecca" as well as their 1922 "Sheik From Avenue B," sung by Fanny Brice.
Bara was known for wearing very revealing costumes in her films. Such outfits were banned from Hollywood films after the Production Code (a.k.a. the Hays Code) started in 1930, and then was more strongly enforced in 1934. It was popular at that time to promote an actress as mysterious, with an exotic background. The studios promoted Bara with a massive publicity campaign, billing her as the Egyptian-born daughter of a French actress and an Italian sculptor. They claimed she had spent her early years in the Sahara desert under the shadow of the Sphinx, then moved to France to become a stage actress. (In fact, Bara never had been to Egypt, and her time in France amounted to just a few months.) They called her the "Serpent of the Nile" and encouraged her to discuss mysticism and the occult in interviews. Some film historians point to this as the birth of two Hollywood phenomena: the studio publicity department and the press agent (later evolving into the public relations person).
In 1936, she appeared on Lux Radio Theatre during a broadcast version of The Thin Man with William Powell and Myrna Loy. She did not appear in the play but instead announced her plans to make a movie comeback, which never materialized. She appeared on radio again in 1939 as a guest on Texaco Star Theatre.
In 1949, producer Buddy DeSylva and Columbia Pictures expressed interest in making a movie of Bara's life to star Betty Hutton, but the project never materialized.
On April 7, 1955, after a lengthy stay at California Lutheran Hospital in Los Angeles, Bara died there of stomach cancer. She was survived by her husband Charles Brabin, her mother, and sister Lori. She was interred as Theda Bara Brabin at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
For her contributions to the film industry, Bara received a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960. Her star is located at 6307 Hollywood Boulevard.
In 1994, she was honored with her image on a U.S. postage stamp designed by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. The Fort Lee Film Commission dedicated Main Street and Linwood Avenue in Fort Lee, New Jersey as "Theda Bara Way" in May 2006 to honor Bara, who made many of her films at the Fox Studio on Linwood and Main.
In June 1996, two biographies of Bara were released: Ron Genini's Theda Bara: A Biography (McFarland) and Eve Golden's Vamp (Emprise). In October 2005 TimeLine Films of Culver City premiered the film biography Theda Bara: The Woman with the Hungry Eyes.
A 2016 book by Joan Craig with Beverly F. Stout chronicles many personal, first-hand accounts of the lives of Theda Bara and Charles Brabin. It reveals a great dichotomy between Theda Bara's screen persona and her real-life persona. Included are Bara's surprised responses to the critical reactions to her screen portrayals from a sector of the community. The author was befriended by Theda Bara and Charles Brabin beginning when she was a young girl. Craig's photographic-like memory paints an important picture of how they lived, where they lived, and what they said and did, even to the point of describing in great detail most of the rooms of their house. The book describes how Bara, who learned pattern making and wig making from her mother and father, designed and created most of the costumes and gowns she wore in her films, including the striking costumes she wore in Cleopatra.
A photo of Bara as Cleopatra is the album artwork for The Lumineers record Cleopatra released in 2016.
In May 2016, a memoir titled Theda Bara, My Mentor, Under the Wings of Hollywood's First Femme Fatale, by Joan Craig with Beverly Stout, was released. Young Joan, in the companionship of Bara during the 1940s and 1950s, includes tales of Bara's husband, Charles Brabin, friends Marion Davies, Clark Gable, Victor Fleming, and other stars of the past.
At the height of her fame, Bara earned $4,000 per week (the equivalent of over $56,000 per week in 2017 adjusted dollars). Bara's better-known roles were as the "vamp", although she attempted to avoid typecasting by playing wholesome heroines in films such as Under Two Flags and Her Double Life. She appeared as Juliet in a version of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Although Bara took her craft seriously, she was too successful as an exotic "wanton woman" to develop a more versatile career.
Over a period of several years, filmmaker and film historian Phillip Dye reconstructed Cleopatra on video. Titled Lost Cleopatra, the full-length feature was created by editing together production-still picture montages combined with the surviving film clip. The script was based on the original scenario with modifications derived from research into censorship reports, reviews of the film, and synopses from period magazines. Dye screened the film at the Hollywood Heritage Museum on February 8, 2017.
Currently, Theda Bara is 137 years, 8 months and 3 days old. Theda Bara will celebrate 138th birthday on a Saturday 29th of July 2023.
Find out about Theda Bara birthday activities in timeline view here.