Volume 3: Biographies


RUTTER, Louise *

Actress (1915)

Thanhouser Career Synopsis: Louise Rutter joined Thanhouser in the spring of 1915 and appeared that year in the release of Milestones of Life. She stayed with Thanhouser for just a few months.

Biographical Notes: Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Louise Rutter aspired to be an actress from an early age. Among her early appearances were roles in The Bonnie Brier Bush and The College Widow. Her first major opportunity is said to have occurred when Kirk LaShelle was assembling a company for The Heir to the Hoorah, at which time she entered a waiting room filled with actors seeking parts in the production. She was so confused that she forgot to list her name with the office boy who was arranging appointments. After all of the other candidates had left, Miss Rutter remained behind, in tears. LaShelle came out of his office at that moment, talked with her, heard her of her hopes, and signed her for the play. Later, Louise Rutter acted in the New York City stage productions of Passers By, Held by the Enemy, Secret Service, The Devil, The Man of the Hour (opposite Douglas Fairbanks), Mid Channel (with Ethel Barrymore and Arnold Daly), and other plays. In May 1911, while enroute from America to England on the steamer Cedric, she startled her friends and fellow passengers with the announcement that she had married in New York a wealthy English brewer, Charles Perkins. A photograph of Miss Rutter in her bridal gown was printed in the New York Morning Telegraph, May 23, 1911.

An article published in The New Rochelle Paragraph, May 7, 1915, noted that Louise Rutter, who had had no previous screen experience, had recently arrived "to take the place of Peggy Snow." In connection with her film debut with the Mutual Program, her picture appeared on the cover of the May 29, 1915 issue of Reel Life. The New York Dramatic Mirror, May 19, 1915, told more: "Edwin Thanhouser has added another star to his New Rochelle roster. Louise Rutter is the latest addition, and her appearance with Thanhouser will mark this pretty star's screen debut. Further acquisitions of directors and players from the speaking stage are promised at the New Rochelle studio."

The Moving Picture World, May 22, 1915, told of her anticipation: "Miss Rutter is an ideal dramatic lead. Graceful, vivacious, intelligent and gifted moreover with an ability to stir the emotions for an audience without straining after effect, she is destined to leap into screen popularity. 'It's all so wonderful,' she said, while interviewed regarding her new field. 'I've heard how you film people work, but I never thought until Mr. Thanhouser's offer came to me that I, too, should join my confreres of the speaking stage who are won by the silent art. The great studio is a fairyland to me, and I cannot see how such fascinating work can ever lose its interest for one.'"

Although the studio may have had high hopes for the newcomer, she stayed only a few months. After her brief sojourn with Thanhouser she departed for Pathé, where she was situated by October 1915. The Moving Picture World, October 30a (the date on the cover, separate from the issue of October 30), 1915, carried this item: "Louise Rutter, who is supporting Arnold Daly in Pathé's Ashton-Kirk series, was born in Baltimore, Maryland and certainly the reputation for charm which Southern girls possess does not suffer at her hands.... Miss Rutter is the leading woman in the Ashton-Kirk pictures which have elicited much favorable comment from the reviewers." In 1915 she was on stage at the New Amsterdam Theatre in New York City. In connection with this role, her full-page portrait was published in the October 1915 issue of Town & Country magazine. Later, she retired from the stage and screen.

Thanhouser Filmography:

1915: Milestones of Life (7-29-1915)

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Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.