Nassau Knolls Cemetery Port Washington, Nassau County, New York, USA
Hazel Dawn (born Henrietta Hazel Tout; March 23, 1890 – August 28, 1988) was an American stage, film and television actress, and violinist. While a teenager, Kathleen Mulqueen met “the love of her life”, Hazel Dawn, with whom she remained intimate but platonic friends for nearly half a century.
She was born to a Mormon family in Utah, and studied music in Europe where her father was a missionary. Dawn rose to fame as a stage actress in Ivan Caryll's 1911 Broadway production of The Pink Lady, which ran for over 300 performances and earned Dawn the eponymous nickname.
She was also an original member of the Ziegfeld Follies in 1907, and would transition into film in 1914, appearing in a total of 15 feature films. She retired from acting in 1954, and spent the remainder of her life working as a casting executive. Dawn died at age 98 in New York City.
Dawn was born Henrietta Hazel Tout in Ogden, Utah, in 1890. She went to Wales with her family at the age of eight when her father served as a Mormon missionary there. Dawn studied violin and voice in London, Paris, and Munich. She especially was impressed by the attentiveness of teachers she studied under in Paris. Her sister, Nancy Tout, was an opera singer who sang with the Opera Comique in Paris.
She met producer Ivan Caryll at a party in London. Caryll suggested the name Hazel Dawn, considering Tout to be "impossible." Dawn met composer Paul Rubens who offered her a part in Dear Little Denmark at the Prince of Wales Theatre (1909), where she made her theatrical début. She then starred in The Balkan Princess in 1910 as Olga. She achieved a great success with her performance in Ivan Caryll's The Pink Lady (1911). The show ran a total of 316 performances on Broadway and then toured, making Dawn famous, even though she was not the leading lady. In the production, she introduced My Beautiful Lady, which she sang and played on her violin. Subsequently she was known as "The Pink Lady" and the cocktail may have been named for her.
The Little Cafe (1913) was produced by the New Amsterdam Theatre and adapted from a book by C.M.S. McLellan. One reviewer found the play lacking when compared to The Pink Lady, but he enjoyed the song Just Because It's You. Dawn performed it in the third act. He wrote: "Dawn was radiantly beautiful and sang far better than did other members of the cast." The Little Cafe was a place in Paris where large crowds assembled to admire the renowned beauty of the owner's daughter.
She starred in the operetta The Debutante (1914) at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. under the management of John C. Fisher. Harry B. Smith penned the book and play adaptation. The setting of the operetta is in London and Paris, with Dawn's depicting a young American girl who is pursued by a nobleman, who desires her fortune. She plays the violin during a scene where she runs away to Paris and makes her musical debut before an appreciative audience. In December, she appeared in The Debutante at the Knickerbocker Theatre. She continued performing for Ziegfeld until 1927 when she married.
She made her screen debut as Kate Shipley in One of Our Girls (1914). Her association with Famous Players-Lasky film company dated from this movie. Dawn followed this role with others in Niobe (1915), Clarissa (1915), and The Masqueraders (1915). Niobe is the screen version of a play written by Harry and Edward S. Paulton. She made The Fatal Card (1915) with Paramount Pictures.
In My Lady Incog (1916), Dawn played a female detective in a motion picture that is a mystery film, comedy, and a romance. Playing the character Nell Carroll, she co-starred with George Majeroni. In The Lone Wolf (1917), she acts with Bert Lytell in an adaptation of a novel by Louis Joseph Vance. Producer Herbert Brenon was responsible for adaptation to film from the book. Her last film credit was Margie in 1946.
Dawn married Charles Edward Gruwell, a mining engineer from Montana, in 1927. At the time, Gruwell was purported to be one of the "richest men in the West." The couple had two children. Following Gruwell's death in 1941, Dawn worked in the casting department of J. Walter Thompson advertising agency. She retired in 1963.
Dawn made a claim for $4,643 against the London Theatre Company which filed for bankruptcy in August 1915. The company, which produced and staged plays, was located at 1476 Broadway. Dawn was once the mascot of both the U.S. Military Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy at one of their annual football games. At one point, West Point cadets tossed their hats onto the stage, one of them belonging to future U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Hazel Dawn died at the home of her daughter in Manhattan in 1988 at age 98. She was survived by her daughter, Dawn Gruwell Kaufman, and a son, Charles E. Gruwell, both of whom resided in New York City.
Actress Ruth Gordon cited Dawn as her own inspiration for becoming an actress. Gordon, who was five years younger, predeceased Dawn, dying in 1985. A 14-year-old Adele Astaire saw Dawn's performance in The Pink Lady and idolized her, thinking her to be "the most lovely, graceful creature" she had seen.
In 1953, Dawn was portrayed by Kay Williams in the film The Actress.
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