JULIAN ELTINGE (ca. 1915-31) Photo archive


[New York, Hollywood: ca. 1915-1931]. Set of six (6) vintage original photos. Overall, very good+.

Julian Eltinge was the most acclaimed “female impersonator” of his time. He captivated Broadway starting in the mid-1900s, and gave a command performance in London before King Edward VII. He also was a major star in vaudeville. By the mid-1910s Hollywood beckoned, and he made a success in silent film. However, as the Depression set in there was no longer the former interest in his work, and jobs dried up.

“Despite the graceful femininity he exhibited on stage, Eltinge used a supermasculine façade in public to combat the rumours of his homosexuality. This sexual duality led to Chicago Tribune drama critic Percy Hammond’s using the term ‘ambisextrous’ to describe him.

“Eltinge may have been a gay man, as Milton Berle and many others who worked with him believed. Actress Ruth Gordon stated in a New York Times article that he was ‘as virile as anybody virile.’ There is no existing record of a lover of either sex, though stories did abound.” (Wikipedia)

  • Borderless 7 3/8 x 8 1/2″ (19 x 22 cm.) still from THE CLEVER MRS. CARFAX (1917), with Eltinge on left.
  • Double weight 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) portrait, 1917, showing Eltinge in suit and tie in foreground and in a dress in background. Elegantly inscribed by Eltinge.
  • Double weight borderless 9 3/8 x 7″ (24 x 18 cm.) portrait of Eltinge in suit and tie, by Los Angeles portrait photographer Witzel, ca. 1918.
  • Double weight 10 x 8″ (25 x 20 cm.) portrait, undated. There are a couple of date stamps on verso, one from 1933, but we believe the actual photo to date from Eltinge’s Hollywood career, possibly ca. 1918.
  • Two (2) 6 3/4 x 4 3/4″ (17.5 x 12 cm.) portraits in the film MAID TO ORDER (1931).
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