Elizabeth Hines, Ziegfeld Girl

While we’re speaking of Albany-born stars (well, we were), we found a brief mention of Elizabeth Hines in a 1927 Times-Union.

ON BRIGHT BROADWAY – Miss Elizabeth Hines, Albany girl, has long been one of the sparks. She represents her native city in musical comedy, appearing as star in Ziegfeld and George White productions.

Elizabeth Hines 1921 Tatler

Elizabeth Hines in the Tatler, June, 1921

In fact, while we find her connected with George M. Cohan and a number of Ziegfeld productions – particularly “Showboat,” the delay of which led her to sue Ziegfeld in 1927 – we find very little on her life or her Albany connection. In 1928, the Times-Union noted that the “Albany printer’s daughter who rose to stardom on Broadway” had been awarded $12,000 over that cancellation; she had sought $100,000. “Naturally, even $12,000 is acceptable to Miss Hines and Ziegfeld is so happy over the comparative smallness of the award that he is to give his eight-year-old daughter a new roadster.” He sounds like a delight.

The Internet Broadway Database says that Hines was born in 1895, and credits her first Broadway production as “Molly O’,” in 1916. She received a lot of notice for her performances in “The O’Brien Girl” (1921), “Little Nellie Kelly” (1922-23), and “Marjorie” in 1924.

She may not have lived in Albany very long. In the 1910 census, when she would have been just 15, it appears that the family was living in Manhattan. Father Thomas Hines was an “operator” (probably of a press) at a newspaper, and brother Walter, then 18, was listed as a theater actor. We would almost doubt the connection, but the same Thomas Hines, and wife Annie Palmer Hines, are interred at Albany Rural Cemetery, so there’s some kind of connection there.

In 1928, the Times-Union ran a picture of Hines on the front page with the brief cutline: “Smoking by Women – Is one of the 23 roads to hell, in opinion of Rev. G.C. Shell of Watertown. Elizabeth Hines is an Albany girl stage star, who recently wed a New York banker. She poses in smoking attitude.” The recent nuptials referred to here were apparently supposed to have been a secret; the Albany Evening Journal reported them Nov. 17, 1927: “Elizabeth Hines, musical comedy star, protege of George M. Cohan, has just been revealed as a secret bride. Since August 18 she has been Mrs. Frank Rigg Warton. Her husband is engaged in banking, and since she is happiest when sticking to her work she intends to return to the stage.” She was apparently well enough known that she was name-checked in a syndicated column by O.O. McIntyre, “New York Day by Day,” in 1927, without any further explanation:

New York – Thoughts while strolling: Those men who stand in Fifth avenue doorways checking off busses. Elizabeth Hines. Flappers talking the Moran and Mack lingo. What’s become of ginger snaps? A drug store with a balcony restaurant.

What does that mean? No telling.

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