2 December 2012

Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter

Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter (1857–1936), was one of the first American society women to become a stage actress.

Mary Cora Urquhart was born in 1857 at New Orleans, the eldest of three daughters and a son raised by David and Augusta (née Slocomb) Urquhart. Her father was a merchant and her mother the daughter of a hardware merchant. She married financier James Brown Potter in 1877 and they had a daughter, Anne, in 1879. They visited England in 1886 where they met the Prince of Wales and were subsequently invited to spend the weekend with him. 

James returned to the United States alone following the visit as Mary remained in England to pursue a career on stage. She made her stage debut in 1877 at the Theatre Royal in Brighton in the play "Civil War". Later that year she started a successful partnership with Harold Kyrle Bellew at the Fifth Avenue Theatre in the New York production of "Civil War". She and Harold toured the world and starred together for the next ten years. 

Despite the fact her husband divorced her in 1903 she continued to use her married name as her stage name. Her last appearance on the London stage was in 1912. She made a further stage appearance in 1919 for a benefit production in Guernsey. In addition to her stage career she helped to raise money for war charities during the Second Boer War. 

She died on February 12, 1936 at her villa in Beaulieu-sur-Mer not far from Monaco along the French Riviera. Shortly before her death Cora Urquhart Brown-Potter chose to become a French citizen.

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