The Artist Birthday Series

Theda Bara

Theda Bara, actress

Theda Bara was one of the most popular actresses of the silent era, and one of cinema’s earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname “The Vamp.”

She was born Theodosia Burr Goodman in the Avondale section of Cincinnati, Ohio. Her father was Bernard Goodman (1853–1936), a prosperous Jewish tailor born in Poland. Her mother, Pauline Louise Françoise (née de Coppett; 1861–1957), was born in Switzerland. She had two siblings: Marque (1888–1954) and Esther (1897–1965), who also became a film actress known as Lori Bara.

Theda Bara's sister, , who went by the stage name "Lori Bara"
Theda Bara’s sister, Ester, who went by the stage name “Lori Bara”

Theda attended Walnut Hills High School graduating in 1903. After attending the University of Cincinnati for two years, she worked mainly in theater productions, but did explore other projects. After moving to New York City in 1908, she made her Broadway debut in The Devil (1908).

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4 thoughts on “Theda Bara

  1. Great blog. Just wanted to point out, though, that the green-tinted photo purporting to be of Musidora is actually of the Italian Silent vamp, Pina Menichelli.

    1. Oh my…I just did a quick Google, and you are quite right, sir! Thanks so much for catching that, I will make the correction right away. And now…I have another silent movie goddess to worship…she’s stunning! Thanks for that too. 🙂

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