Biography of Viola Allen


Allen, Viola, actress, born in the South, 1869. Daughter Leslie Allen, character actor, of old Boston family, and Sarah (Lyon) Allen, English woman of good descent. Went to Boston when three years old. Educated in Boston and at Wykham Hall, Toronto, and boarding school in New York. Made debut, Madison Square Theater, New York, in Esmeralda, at age of 15. After a few months, joined John McCullough company, played leading classical, Shakespearean, and comedy roles with Lawrence Barett, Tommaso Salvini, Joseph Jefferson, and William J. Florence. Leading lady at Boston Museum for a season; also at Empire Theater in 1893, and four years following, creating and playing roles in "Liberty Hall," "Sowing the Wind," "The Masqueraders," "Under the Red Robe," etc. Starred 1898 as Gloria Quayle in "The Christina," by Hall Caine and, in 1900, produced "In the Palace of the King," by F. Marion Crawford and Lorimer Stoddard. Starred, in 1902, as Roma in Hall Caine's "The Eternal City." In 1903, under management of her brother, began series of Shakespearean revivals, producing first "Twelfth Night," in which she played Viola, with success. In subsequent seasons, she appeared as Hermione and Perdita in "A Winter's Tale."