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David Belasco
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    (July 25, 1853-May 14, 1931)
    Born in San Francisco, California
    Theatrical producer, playwright
    Staged over 370 plays, many written by himself
    Productions included 'The Heart of Maryland' (1895), 'Madame Butterfly' (1900), 'The Girl of the Golden West' (1905), 'Du Barry' (1901), 'The Music Master' (1904), and 'Lulu Belle' (1926)
    Wrote the autobiographical 'The Theatre Through Its Stage Door' (1919)
    Namesake for the Belasco Theatre in Midtown Manhattan (est. 1907)
    He was nicknamed 'the Bishop of Broadway.'
    He made his stage debut at the age of eleven (in a production of 'Richard III' as one of the young Princes).
    He - and his main competitor Flo Ziegfeld - were the earliest prototypes of the cigar-chomping iron-fisted studio moguls of Hollywood.
    He tended to cede his choicest roles to his favorite starlet, Leslie Carter, with whom he was rumored to have had a Svengali relationship (they both denied it, but no one believed them).
    When he leased the 42nd Street Theatre Republic from Oscar Hammerstein, he named it after himself.
    He was criticized for being slow to recognize the viability of film as an entertainment genre (although he was slowly beginning to segue into the motion picture industry at the time of his death).
    He was the son of Sephardic-Jewish immigrants from England.
    He wrote his first play when he was only twelve.
    He was married to the same woman for nearly 50 years.
    He was a mentor to Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith.
    He was the first writer to adapt the short story Madame Butterfly for the stage.
    Giacomo Puccini adapted several of his plays into operas, most notably 'Butterfly.'
    He was credited with pioneering innovative techniques of stage lighting and special effects to achieve visual realism/naturalism (e.g. eliminating footlights and leasing the use of the first 'lensed spotlights').
    He discovered - and launched the careers of - Mary Pickford, Jeanne Eagels, Percy Helton, and Barbara Stanwyck.
    Pickford later said of him: 'To me, David Belasco was like the King of England, Julius Caesar and Napoleon rolled into one.'

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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