Herne, Katharine Corcoran

Herne, Katharine Corcoran
   The wife of playwright James A. Herne and mother of actress Chrystal Herne was herself a reputable actress. Born Katharine Corcoran in Ballyleeks, County Cork, Ireland,* she came to New York with her parents and siblings in 1860. In her youth, she became an ardent theatergoer, first in New York and continuing in San Francisco when her family moved there. After two years of acting lessons with Mrs. Julia Melville, she joined Herne's company, soon rose to leading lady, and married Herne in 1878. She played Chrystal in his play Hearts of Oak as well as featured roles in most of his subsequent plays, but it was for the title role in Margaret Fleming (1891), which Herne wrote for her, that she earned her greatest plaudits. The subtle truthfulness of her portrayal helped to promote the new realism, and she steadily encouraged his writing in the vein of Henrik Ibsen, despite the resistance of some critics. After Herne's death, she became active in Chicago theatre, serving as a director of the New Theatre and overseeing a revival of Margaret Fleming with her daughter in the title role.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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  • Herne, Chrystal — (1883 1950)    Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, Katherine Chrystal Herne began her career in 1899 acting in the plays of her father, James A. Herne. She never attained stardom, but she was a respected character actress excelling in roles… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Herne, James A. — (1839 1901)    Born in Cohoes, New York, son of a poverty stricken Irish immigrant family, James Aherne left school in early adolescence to work in a brush factory. His family s Dutch Reformed religious beliefs forbade attending theatre, but when …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Margaret Fleming —    Considered the first American drama to adopt the social problem play realism pioneered by Henrik Ibsen, James A. Herne s drama focuses on Margaret Fleming s discovery that her husband, Philip, has fathered a child by a young woman working in… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Shore Acres —    James A. Herne s four act comedy, written in collaboration with his wife Katharine Corcoran Herne, opened at Chicago s McVicker s Theatre on 17 May 1892, after which it settled in at New York s Fifth Avenue Theatre for 244 performances. Herne… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • actors and actresses —    In no other period of American theatre history has the stage boasted so many outstanding performers with so wide a following. Avid theatergoers collected cartes de visite (like trading cards, each with a photograph of an actor or actress) and… …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

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