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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

MCLAUGHLIN, ROBERT H.

MCLAUGHLIN, ROBERT H.

MCLAUGHLIN, ROBERT H. (16 Nov. 1877-16 Jan. 1939) dominated the legitimate stage in Cleveland as a playwright and theatrical manager from 1912-32. Born in St. Petersburgh, Pa., he was raised in Fostoria, O. After studying at Ohio State Univ. and Rush Medical College in Chicago, he became editor of the News-Democrat in Canton, O. Coming to Cleveland in 1905, he worked for the PLAIN DEALER 5 years before breaking into show business as a press agent. Among the local theaters he managed during the following decade were the Duchess, METROPOLITAN, and COLONIAL. In 1915, prompted by the closing by police of Cleveland's vice zone on Hamilton Ave. (see PROSTITUTION), McLaughlin wrote the dream play The Eternal Magdalene. Following its premiere in the Colonial Theater (30 Aug. 1915), it became a successful vehicle for the return of actress Julia Arthur to the Broadway stage. Other plays written by McLaughlin include The Sixth Commandment, Demi-Tasse, Pearl of Great Price, and Decameron Nights, which in 1922 became the first play by an American to be produced in London's Theater Royal. In 1919 McLaughlin promoted the construction of the OHIO THEATER, which he managed during the 1920s. When the theater wasn't booked by Broadway touring companies, he organized and directed a summer stock company to fill out the season. After a brief appointment as manager of PUBLIC AUDITORIUM in 1933, he went to Hollywood to work as a screenwriter and casting director, returning to Cleveland a few months before his death. Survived by his wife Myrtle, McLaughlin was buried in Fostoria.


McLaughlin, Robert. The Eternal Magdalene: A Modern Play in Three Acts (1918).