Clara Bloodgood & Her Tragic Suicide

 Clara Bloodgood

Clara Bloodgood was a Broadway actress and socialite who took her own life

She was born Clara Sutton Stephens on August 28, 1868 in Long Branch, New Jersey. Her father, Edward Stephens, was a prominent attorney and her mother was part of New York's high society. When she was a child she attended the prestigious St. Johns School in Brighton, England. At the age of eighteen Clara married William Havemeyer, the son of a wealthy sugar manufacturer. The couple had a son in June of 1888 but tragically the baby died. Soon after they divorced and in 1890 she married millionaire Jack Bloodgood. Within a few years Jack had lost his entire fortune and the couple were forced to movie into a tiny apartment. To earn some money Clara decided to become an actress. She landed a small role in a production of The Conquerors at the Empire Theatre in New York. Tragically on February 15, 1898 Jack died from Bright's disease leaving Clara a widow. The following year she made her Broadway debut in Miss Hobbs. Then playwright Clyde Fitch chose her to star in his shows The Climbers and The Girl With The Green Eyes. She quickly become one of New York's most respected actresses.

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Clara married William Laimbeer, a stockbroker, on May 29, 1902. Her closest friend was actress Zelda Sears. She reunited with Clyde Fitch in 1904 to star in The Coronet And The Duchess. Unfortunately the play was a commercial flop. Next she originated the role of Violet Robinson in George Bernard Shaw’s Broadway production of Man and Superman. By 1906 she and William were having financial problems because of some bad investments in the stock market. In an interview she said "My life has been a series of misfortunes." Clara accepted a role in the 1907 play The Truth. Although it got positive reviews it was not a big success on Broadway. The producers decided to take the show on the road. She reluctantly agreed to go on tour but feared she was having a nervous breakdown. On December 5, 1907 she was supposed to perform on stage in Baltimore, Maryland. That afternoon she committed suicide in her hotel room by shooting herself in the head. She was only thirty-nine years old. Clara was buried at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York.

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Clara Bloodgood Suicide