Tag: Nancy Reagan

January 10, 1917: Alla Nazimova Opens in ”Ception Shoals’ on Broadway

Nazimova offered a role in the play to her lifelong friend Edith Luckett, who in 1926 would become the mother of Nancy Reagan.

Edith Luckett, Lifelong Friend of Alla Nazimova, Who Was Godmother to Edith’s Daughter, Nancy Reagan

Edith Luckett, mother of Nancy Reagan

Yes, Edith Luckett Robbins Davis, whom Alla Nazimova called “Lucky,” was Alla’s lifelong best friend. They met when Alla was a huge Broadway star and Edith was an ingenue. According to Bob Colacello, in Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House: 1911 to 1980:

Edith met Nazimova at a party given at the Irving Place townhouse of the literary agent Bessie Marbury, whose clients included H.G. Wells, George Bernard Shaw and Somerset Maugham, and her lover, the society decorator Elsie de Wolfe, who were the reigning hostesses of Manhattan’s thriving haute bohemia … [After she married Kenneth Robbins in Burlington, Vermont, on June 27, 1916,] Edith contacted Alla Nazimova, who offered her a role in her new production, “‘Ception Shoals,” a melodrama “about incest, suicide and bigotry, set in a lighthouse.” Edith’s first Broadway play, it opened on January 10, 1917, ran to packed houses until March, and then went on tour until summer.

The following year, Nazimova went to Hollywood and quickly became one of the highest-paid actresses in silent pictures.

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Photo: Nazimova and Her Goddaughter, Nancy Davis, at the Garden of Allah in 1944

Hollywood 1944: Glesca, Nazimova in her favorite “Chinese coolie” hat and goddaughter Nancy Davis (later Reagan)

That’s Alla Nazimova, age 65, in the center, her long time companion Glesca Marshall to the left and Nazimova’s goddaughter Nancy Davis, age 23, future first lady of the United States, standing at right. This was probably taken in Los Angeles, maybe even on the grounds of the Garden of Allah, about a year before Nazimova died.

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