- Phyllis Rankin
Phyllis Rankin (1875 "-" November 17, 1934) was a Broadway actress and singer from the 1880s until the 1920s. Her full name was Phyllis McKee Rankin."M'Kee Rankin's House On Fire",
New York Times, April 2, 1891, pg. 8.]
She was the daughter of stage actress Elizabeth I. Rankin (nee Kitty Blanchard) and actor Arthur McKee Rankin Her older, married sister, was named Gladys. In September 1890 Elizabeth Rankin filed a motion contesting her husband's resistance to providing support for their daughter. A previous suit, in which she filed for separation from McKee, was being considered by the
New York Supreme Court."Mrs. Rankin's Suit For Separation", New York Times, September 26, 1890, pg. 8.] Mrs. McKee Rankin was regarded as "the foremost and best-known character actress and stage artist" of her generation. ["A Queenly Woman", Los Angeles Times, March 23, 1899, pg. 4.]
Phyllis Rankinwas tutored by her father in "old school drama". She made her first stage appearance as a youth of 10 with her parents in "Stormbeaten". She eventually left her father's companies and was managed by
Charles Frohman."Davenport And Rankin", New York Times, February 9, 1919, pg. 42.]
A house belonging to McKee Rankin at 40 Edgecombe Avenue, near One Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Street, burned in the early morning of April 1, 1891. Rankin and her mother were inside when the fire began in a linen closet. The blaze was contained and put out through the efforts of a "bucket brigade". Damage was estimated at $400 and was covered by insurance.
Rankin was in the supporting cast of "Sara", a play performed at the Palmer Theatre (
Wallack's Theatre), in the summer of 1890. ["Amusements", New York Times, June 20, 1890, pg. 4.] "Sara" was the abandoned wife of a French adventurer named "Antoine laRue". ["Mrs. Rankin's Matinee", New York Times, June 21, 1890, pg. 4.] Albert M. Palmer gained control of Wallack's Theatre in 1888 and produced plays in New York City through 1896. [ [http://home.comcast.net/~m.chitty/palmers.htm EJ Phillips' Manhattan 1830-1904, Palmer's Theatre.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.]
Rose Coghlan obtained Rankin to replace Jennie Yeamans in an 1892 production of "The Check Book"."Theatrical Gossip", New York Times, April 19, 1892, pg. 8.] In April 1893 she appeared in the "Arabian Nights" on a variety bill at the Standard Theatre,"Display Ad 11-No Title", New York Times, April 23, 1893, pg. 7.]
6th Avenue (Manhattan)between 32nd Street and 33rd Street, [ [http://126.96.36.199/search?q=cache:1_RIL_YBpZkJ:home.comcast.net/~m.chitty/newyorkmap.htm+standard+theater+old+new+york+city&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=usEJ EJ Phillips' Manhattan, Standard Theatre.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] Frohman's comedians were also featured performers.
In February 1897 Rankin was part of a bill at the Olympia Music Hall,"Alberti At Olympia", New York Times, February 16, 1897, pg. 7.] 1514-16
Broadway (Manhattan)(44th Street), [ [http://www.ibdb.com/venue.aspx?id=1401 IBDB Olympia Theatre Music Hall.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] that included Auguste Van Biene. The same month she appeared at the Twenty-Third Street Theatre,"Notes Of The Week", New York Times, February 28, 1897, pg. 21.] 139 West Twenty-Third Street, [ [http://cinematreasures.org/theater/14769/ Cinema Treasures Proctor's 23rd Street Theatre.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] of Frederick Francis Proctor. In May she entertained at the St. Nicholas Music Hall, ["Display Ad 14-No Title",New York Times, May 13, 1897, pg. 12.] West 66th Street near Columbus Avenue (Manhattan). ["Theatres", New York Times, May 16, 1897, pg. 16.] She sang at Koster & Bial's Music Hall,"Theatres And Music Halls", New York Times, June 29, 1897, pg. 7.] 729 6th Avenue and 23rd Street (Manhattan), [ [http://188.8.131.52/search?q=cache:DAWSkqhgWnkJ:www.14to42.net/24street5.html+koster+%26+bial%27s&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=2&gl=us Koster & Bial.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] in June.In July Rankin performed with Lizzie Evans and George Thatcherat Keith's New Union SquareTheatre, ["Display Ad 12--No Title", New York Times, July 18, 1897, pg. 8.] near Broadway at 14th Street (Manhattan). [ [http://www.musicals101.com/bwaythhist3.htm Musicals 101 Theatre in New York.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] Duringher engagement at the B.F. Keithestablishment, she did impersonations of Anna Held. ["Roof Gardens And Theatres", New York Times, July20, 1897, pg. 7.] At the Casino Theatre, 1404 Broadway (West 39th Street), [ [http://www.ibdb.com/venue.aspx?id=1085 IBDB Casino Theatre.] Retrieved on 12-24-07.] Rankin played "Fifi ["Article 4--No Title", New York Times, December 11, 1898, pg. IMS10.] Fricot in "The Belle of New York", which had a one week booking in December 1897."Theatres", New York Times, December 19, 1897, pg. 9.] .
By August 1898 she was receiving offers from English managers of
comic opera. ["American Actors Abroad", New York Times, August 7, 1898, pg. 5.] "The Belle of New York" was staged at the Shaftesbury Theatrewith Harry Davenportin the company. ["Mr. Lederer At Home Again", New York Times, March 12, 1899, pg. 17.] Davenport portrayed a doctor and Rankin, a housekeeper, in "Three Wise Fools". The two met and married in the original production of "The Belle of New York". In the musical they sang a famous duet, "When We AreMarried".
In 1921 she had performed on stage for fifty years. Other productions in which she acted were "The Rounders", "It Happened In Nordland", and "Fascinating Flora".
Rankin died in
Canton, Pennsylvaniain 1934 at the age of 59."Phyllis Rankin Dies; Former Stage Star", New York Times, November 18, 1934, pg. 35.] She and Davenport married and were the parents of Arthur Rankin, an actor in motion pictures from 1923 "-"1934. He was also a writer. Hedied from a cerebral hemmoragefollowing an extended illness in 1950. ["Arthur Rankin, 50, Actor And Writer", New York Times, March 24, 1947, pg. 25.] After her wedding to Davenport, Rankin left the stage for eleven years before returning in a small role in "Lightnin", in August 1918. Thecouple later teamed at the Criterion Theatrefor a production of "Three Wise Fools". Rankin was the mother of three other children, 2 of whom acted on stage.
* [http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/dgkeysearchdetail.cfm?trg=1&strucID=431979&imageID=1117739&parent_id=431313&word=&snum=& Phyllis Rankin Photographic Image] New York Public Library Digital Gallery
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