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ELINE, Marie
(The Thanhouser Kid)

Thanhouser Career: Actress (1909-1914)

Marie Eline in a studio portrait, circa 1911-1913. (Courtesy of Mary Eline

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Known as The Thanhouser Kid, Marie Eline worked with Thanhouser from autumn 1909 through early 1914. During the 1910-1912 years she was by far the most famous of all the Thanhouser players.

Biographical Notes: Anna Marie Eline, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 27, 1902, the daughter of Grace and Charles Eline, became known as The Thanhouser Kid. She started in films with the Thanhouser Company at the beginning of business in autumn 1909. Her first release was A 29-Cent Robbery (April 15, 1910), in which she played the lead role, a little girl whose bank was stolen. Grace, her sister, also appeared in this film. Marie played female and male juvenile parts with equal facility. As one of many examples of a male role, in The Judge's Story she essayed the role of a young black boy, to critical acclaim.

Her acting on the screen was praised in numerous reviews in The Billboard, Moving Picture World, and other trade journals during the early years of the Thanhouser Company, when few other actors were mentioned by name. During 1910 and 1911 she was mentioned more frequently in Thanhouser advertising than were all other players combined. The Moving Picture World, January 13, 1912, informed readers: "The Thanhouser Kid has no other name for picture purposes. She is just the Thanhouser Kid." Marie Eline was seen in dozens of films. Her versatile acting was a major contributor to the success that the Thanhouser Company enjoyed during its formative years.

A 1912 Photoplay Article: The Photoplay Magazine, November 1912, told of her acting abilities: "Marie Eline (Thanhouser), known to all as 'The Thanhouser Kid' is one of the greatest child actresses on the screen or the legitimate stage, and is loved and admired wherever Thanhouser films are shown. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this clever little actress has assisted such stars as Guy Bates Post in The Bridge, Fanny Ward in Van Allen's Wife, appeared in The Fatal Wedding, in La Belle Russe and with Nora Bayes and Jack Norworth in The Jolly Bachelors. Frequently this little lady is called upon to enact emotional scenes that would puzzle a Bernhardt, a Mrs. Fiske or a Leslie Carter, especially when one recalls that pantomime alone can be used and that spoken words are useless, yet little Marie 'puts over' the scene with all the naturalness of real life."

In Films and on Stage: In the summer of 1913, amid her film work, she found time to appear on the stage at Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre, in New York City, where she dressed in rags, in the role of a poor child from a broken home, and gave a monologue imploring a judge to spare her father from prison.

She was known as The Thanhouser Kid until November 1913, when Charles J. Hite announced that Marie Eline had been transferred to the Princess Department, was no longer to be known as The Thanhouser Kid, for she was "nearly 11" and grown-up. It is evident that by then her star had dimmed, and she was relegated to occasional mentions in Thanhouser publicity. After that time, she remained with Thanhouser just a month or two.

Uncle Tom's Cabin: Marie Eline left Thanhouser early in 1914 and went back on the stage. The New York Dramatic Mirror, February 18, 1914, noted that she "will shortly open in a novel vaudeville offering that is being prepared for her by James Madison. The act carries a special drop, is introduced by a novel picture, and on the whole is expected to made vaudeville patrons sit up and take notice." The same trade publication noted in its issue of April 15, 1914 that Marie Eline was breaking her vaudeville contract "to go to New Orleans with the World Producing Company, which is to produce a film version of Uncle Tom's Cabin, featuring Miss Eline and Irving Cummings."

With the World Producing Corporation she was under the directorship of William Robert Daly in Uncle Tom's Cabin, appearing as Little Eva, the role she had played earlier in the 1910 Thanhouser version of this American classic. Irving Cummings, who was in transition and was set to go with Thanhouser, appeared in the role of George Harris

For a number of years after Marie Eline left the New Rochelle studio, she continued to be referred to as The Thanhouser Kid in publicity, for it was by this name she was recognized by millions of movie patrons. Sometimes she was billed as The Original Thanhouser Kid, for by the time she departed from Thanhouser, a number of other children were among the Thanhouser stock players.

In 1919 Marie Eline was back in films and worked for a time in Los Angeles with the National Film Corporation of America, where in publicity she was billed as The Original Thanhouser Kid. National maintained studios at 1401 Lodi Street, Hollywood, and released through the Robertson-Cole Company, located at the same address.

The 1920s and Later: In the 1920s, Marie Eline traveled extensively, often with her sister, and was seen in many stage productions, usually billed as Grace and Marie Eline. The two were seen in a 1928 vaudeville act, The Original Thanhouser Kids, which traded on their fame in films 15 years earlier.

Marie Eline married Milton Edward Blasier, Jr., in Riverside, California in 1922. The couple had one child, a daughter, Marie Elizabeth ("Mary"), born on March 4, 1924 at the Clara Barton Hospital in Los Angeles. An earlier child, a boy, was carried for an incomplete term and was stillborn.

Marie Eline died in Longview, Washington on January 3, 1981. An obituary in Variety, January 28, 1981, noted in part: "Marie Eline, age unreported, died in Longview, Washington while visiting her daughter. With her sister, Grace, the Elines played the Keith and Orpheum circuits, starting in show business in 1910. They appeared with Nora Bayes in The Jolly Bachelors, and then Marie went into films, and Grace joined Elsie Janis in Lady of the Slipper. After Marie appeared in a production of Rose Marie, the sisters went into vaudeville, but retired from show business in 1948. Marie Eline, who took the name of Anne B. [Bruce] Carlisle upon retirement, is survived by her sister and daughter."

Her daughter, Mary Eline Grundberg (later remarried to become Mary E. Scheet), supervised the funeral arrangements, which were conducted in Longview by the Steele Funeral Home. The remains of Marie Eline were cremated by the Green Hills Memorial Gardens, Inc.

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