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Romola Remus

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Romola Remus (7 April 1900 – 17 February 1987) was the first actress to play Dorothy Gale on film.

She took the role of Dorothy in the short films that were part of L. Frank Baum's 1908 multi-media stage show Fairylogue and Radio-Plays. She was paid five dollars per day and skipped school during the shooting schedule; her costume was a tulle bonnet and a dress with red polka-dots. Later she made personal appearances along with Baum in the Fairylogue performances.

The child actress appeared in a few other early, Chicago-made movies; but the industry soon moved to Hollywood, ending her short career. Remus would endure another type of notoriety, as the daughter of George Remus, the "king of the bootleggers." Romola (later Romola Remus Dunlap) accompanied her father to court during his trials for bootlegging and murder in the 1920s.

She had musical ability; she played and taught piano, organ, and violin and composed some pieces, including a "Romola Waltz" that was performed at her funeral. She worked for a time as a singer and dancer in vaudeville. In her later years she lived in a North Side apartment in Chicago, with her cat, parakeet, and turtle. Her last will and testament asked that her age not be disclosed.

References

  • William A. Cook. King of the Bootleggers: A Biography of George Remus. Jefferson, NC, McFarland, 2008.

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