CWRU Links

ELLSLER, EFFIE

ELLSLER, EFFIE (4 Apr. 1854-8 Oct. 1942), a member of the famous Ellsler theatrical family and known as "Cleveland's Sweetheart" from the 1870s to 1900s, learned to perfect the art of emotional distress and extravagant gesture so popular during the pre-Ibsen period of stage and screen. Ellsler was named for her mother, Euphemia Emma Ellsler, who, with her husband, JOHN A. ELLSLER, performed on stage as "Uncle John A. and Effie E." Little Effie's first stage appearance was portraying Little Eva in Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, and later playing Cricket in The Cricket on the Hearth. Trained in the dramatic arts by her father, and later taught at Ursuline Academy, at 18 she took the role of Virginia in a production called Virginius. On 6 Sept. 1875, her father opened the EUCLID AVENUE OPERA HOUSE with Bronson Howard's play Saratoga, in which he performed and Effie was leading lady. On 1 Dec. 1880, Effie performed as Hazel in Steele MacKaye's melodrama Hazel Kirke, playing this, her best remembered role, when it opened in Madison Square Theater on 4 Feb. 1880. The play made a record run on Broadway that was not surpassed until 1906. Ellsler's last appearance in Cleveland occurred on 29 May 1919 at the Shubert-Colonial Theater in a play called Old Lady 31. She was married in May 1881 to Frank Weston, an actor who appeared with her in Hazel Kirke and many other plays. They had no children. Ellsler was buried in Los Angeles.