Charles Coburn letter

Charles Coburn letter

Descriptive Summary

Title: Charles Coburn letter
Creator: Coburn, Charles
Inclusive Dates: 1944 October 11
Language(s): English
Extent: 1 folder(s) 1 letter
Collection Number: ms3858
Repository: Hargrett Library

Collection Description

Historical Note

Charles Douville Coburn (1877-1961) was born in Macon, GA and went on to become a prominent stage and screen actor, manager, director, and producer.

Coburn grew up in Savannah and began working in the performing arts by doing miscellaneous jobs in the Savannah Theatre, which he managed by the time he was 17. His first role was in William Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan's opera "The Mikado". When he was 19, he moved from Georgia to New York, and gained his first role in a traveling production of "Quo Vadi s".

Coburn acted in several traveling companies. By 1904, Coburn played the lead role of "The Christian". He founded the Coburn Shakespearean Players in 1905. In 1906 he married Ivah Wills (ca. 1882–1937), American actress and producer. They went on to produce several Broadway and off-Broadway plays. Coburn founded the Mohawk Drama Festival in 1935 at Union College in Schenectady, New York. The festival was one of the first cooperative ventures of university and professional theater.

After the death of his wife, Coburn moved to Hollywood, California to pursue a film career. He acted in over 44 films, including Idiot's Delight (1939), Made for Each Other (1939), The Devil and Miss Jones (1941), King's Row (1942), In This Our Life (1942), Heaven Can Wait (1943), Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953)and Around the World in 80 Days (1956). He won an Academy Award for his role in The More the Merrier (1943). He was also nominated for The Devil and Miss Jones(1941) and The Green Years(1946).

In the 1940s, Coburn began acting less in order to return to the stage, as well as working for television and radio. He also wrote an article on theater for a book titled Stories of Old Savannah. He remarried in 1951to Winifred Natzka. He died of a heart attack at the age of 81.

Scope and Content

One letter from actor Charles Coburn to an admirer in which Coburn responds to a list of questions about his acting career. The recipient is an active duty American soldier, Lt. Harry Harris. The letter is typed on Coburn's personal stationery and signed by him.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Charles Coburn letter, ms 3858, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, The University of Georgia Libraries.

Related Materials and Subjects

Subject Terms

Series Descriptions and Folder Listing


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University of Georgia
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