Theda Bara

Theda Bara ( /ˈθiːdə ˈbærə/ THEE-də BAR-ə; July 29, 1885 – April 7, 1955), born Theodosia Burr Goodman, was an American silent film actress – one of the most popular of her era, and one of cinema's earliest sex symbols. Her femme fatale roles earned her the nickname "The Vamp" (short for vampire). Theodosia Burr Goodman was born 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 de Coppett (1861–1957), was born in Switzerland. Bernard and Pauline married in 1882. Theda's siblings were a boy, Marque (1888–1954) and a girl, Esther (1897–1965), who also became a film actress as Lori Bara and married Francis W. Getty of London in 1920. The origin of Bara's stage name is disputed; The Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats says it came from director Frank Powell, who learned Theda had a relative named Barranger. In promoting the 1917 film "Cleopatra", Fox Studio publicists noted that the name was an anagram of "Arab death", and her press agents claimed inaccurately that she was "the daughter of an Arab sheik and a French woman, born in the Sahara.


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