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Edward Franklin Albee II

edward franklin albee iiui, edward franklin albee iit
Edward Franklin Albee October 8, 1857 – March 11, 1930 was a vaudeville impresario, and the adoptive grandfather of Edward Franklin Albee, the playwright


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
    • 21 Anecdotes
  • 3 Personal life
    • 31 Descendants
  • 4 See also
  • 5 References
  • 6 Further reading

Early lifeedit

Albee was born on October 8, 1857 in Machias, Maine to Nathaniel Smith Albee1 and Amanda Higgins Crocker


He toured with P T Barnum as a roustabout,2 then in 1885 he partnered with Benjamin Franklin Keith in operating the Bijou Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts3 With the success of their business, it grew into the Keith-Albee theatre circuit of vaudeville theatres Albee gradually took managerial control of Keith's theatrical circuit They were the first to introduce moving pictures in the United States1

In 1900, Pat Shea of Buffalo proposed to Keith and Albee that they should set up a shared booking arrangement for vaudeville similar to the Theatrical Syndicate They called a meeting in May 1900 in Boston of most of the major vaudeville managers, including Weber & Fields, Tony Pastor, Hyde & Behman of Brooklyn, Kohl & Castle, Colonel JD Hopkins, and Meyerfield & Beck of the Orpheum Circuit of the western USA4 They did not invite Frederick Freeman Proctor, Keith's main competitor, but the other managers objected to this and insisted on a meeting in New York where Proctor was invited The Vaudeville Managers Association VMA was founded at the New York meeting Keith and Albee dominated the new organization4 Albee was president of the VMA's United Bookings Office from its formation in 1906 Albee had most of the major vaudeville circuits give him control of their theatrical bookings where he charged acts a 5% commission

When performers tried to form a union, he set up National Vaudeville Artists and made membership in it a requirement for booking through his company His partner Keith died in Palm Beach, Florida in 19145

He formed the Keith-Albee-Orpheum corporation on January 28, 1928 with Joseph P Kennedy6 Radio Corporation of America bought his company and formed RKO Pictures "Radio-Keith-Orpheum" and turned the Orpheum vaudeville circuit into a chain of movie theaters7


Many entertainers considered Albee's tactics tyrannical Groucho Marx referred to the United Bookings Office as "Albee's Gestapo"8

Joe Frisco summed up the impression of power Albee made; exiting Albee's office into a street under construction, his agent wondered why the street was being torn up and Frisco quipped, "Albee's kid lost his ball"2:420

Albee appears as a minor character in the film Yankee Doodle Dandy and in the 1968 Broadway musical, George M!

Personal lifeedit

Albee married Lauretta Frances Smith 1861–1960, with whom he had:

  • Albee d 1916
  • Edward Albee 1883–1883, who died young
  • Reed A Albee 1886–1961, who married Louise Holmes Williams, an actress, in 1914 They divorced in 1925 and in the same year, he married Frances Cotter9
  • Ethel Keith Albee 1890–1976, who married Edwin George Lauder, Jr 1883–195510 in 1914 They divorced in 194111

On March 11, 1930, Albee died at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida17 He was buried at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York12 In his will, his estate was valued in excess of $2,000,000 equivalent to $28,673,300 in 201713 and he left his wife $1,000,000 equivalent to $14,336,700 in 201713, among many charitable donations that supported The Actors' Fund, Percy Williams Home, Variety Artists' Benevolent Fund and Institution14


His grandson was Edward Albee 1928–2016, the playwright, who was adopted by his son, Reed15

See alsoedit

  • 1900 US census with Albees in Manhattan
  • USS Beaumere II SP-444


  1. ^ a b c "E F Albee Dies At Palm Beach Retired Head of BF Keith Vaudeville Circuit Heart Disease Victim" New York Times March 12, 1930 Retrieved 2011-04-14 
  2. ^ a b Cullen, Frank; Hackman, Florence; McNeilly, Donald 2006 Vaudeville, Old and New: An Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America Psychology Press pp 15–18 ISBN 978-0-415-93853-2 
  3. ^ Carey, Charles W 2009 American Inventors, Entrepreneurs, and Business Visionaries Infobase Publishing p 218 ISBN 978-0-8160-6883-8 
  4. ^ a b Stewart, D Travis 2006 No Applause—Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous Faber & Faber pp 122–125 ISBN 978-1-4299-3041-3 
  5. ^ "BF Keith Dies at Palm Beach Vaudeville Manager Stricken on 25th Anniversary of Opening of His Boston Theatre" New York Times March 27, 1914 Retrieved 2014-12-28 Subscription required help 
  6. ^ "700 Theatres Merged In Vaudeville Circuit Keith-Albee and Orpheum Now Largest in Country Final Papers Signed" New York Times January 27, 1928 Retrieved 2015-02-10 
  7. ^ a b "Edward Franklin Albee, 73, Manhattan theatrical manager" Time March 24, 1930 
  8. ^ Marx, Groucho 2009 Groucho And Me Da Capo Press p 137 ISBN 978-0-7867-4827-3 
  9. ^ "Reed Albee, Officer of Keith Theatres" New York Times 3 August 1961 Retrieved 14 April 2011 Reed A Albee, a former official of the BF Keith Corporation Mr Albee was the son of the late Edward F Albee, a founder of the  
  10. ^ "EDWIN G LAUDER JR | THEATRE EX-OFFICER" The New York Times March 2, 1955 Retrieved 18 September 2016 
  11. ^ "DIVORCES EG LAUDER JR | Daughter of Late EF Albee Receives Decree in Reno" The New York Times April 10, 1941 Retrieved 18 September 2016 
  12. ^ "Edward Franklin Albee" Find a Grave May 27, 2010 Retrieved 2014-12-28 
  13. ^ a b Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project "Consumer Price Index estimate 1800–" Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Retrieved January 2, 2017 
  14. ^ "ALBEE LEFT $250,000 TO 3 ACTORS' FUNDS | Will of Vaudeville Producer Tells Why He Left Nothing to Aid NVA Work | WIDOW RECEIVES $1,000,000 | Children, Relatives, Employes and Friends Also Benefit—Church Gets $25,000 Trust" The New York Times April 2, 1930 Retrieved 18 September 2016 
  15. ^ Weber, Bruce 16 September 2016 "Edward Albee, Trenchant Playwright for a Desperate Era, Dies at 88" The New York Times Retrieved 18 September 2016 

Further readingedit

  • New York Times; March 16, 1930 THRONG AT FUNERAL OF EDWARD F ALBEE; Notables of Stage and Other Fields at Services in Cathedral of St JohnBISHOP MANNING PRESIDES Cathedral Clergy Assist in Impressive Requlem—700 Theatres Pay Tribute to Former Head The Honorary Pallbearers Some of Those Present Tribute at 700 Theatres Vaudeville stars, old-time luminaries of the stage, vaudeville executives from cities far West as Chicago, people connected in every conceivable way with the stage and many others paid homage yesterday morning to Edward F Albee, former
  • Time; June 8, 1931 But the National Variety Artists' Club in West 46th Street in Manhattan club has always run an annual deficit For years Edward Franklin Albee variety tycoon Keith-Albee, footed the losses until his death in 1930"

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