Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Billy J. Harbin


The purpose of this study is to examine and assess the theatrical careers of Fredric March (1897-1975) and Florence Eldridge (1901-1988). Repertory and Broadway theatre reviews, extant unpublished letters and manuscripts, and contemporary reviews and articles constitute the bulk of the primary research material. These have been supplemented by the actors' own personal memoirs, biographical accounts, correspondence with surviving contemporaries, and articles from journals, books, and newspapers. Fredric March and Florence Eldridge were important American actors whose portrayals on Broadway and in films were significant in the development of American theatre in the twentieth century. They were devoted to the stage despite outstanding success in films, and their duration as actors (spanning over forty-five years) demonstrates their enduring influence on the American theatre scene. At least two of their Broadway portrayals have gained a lasting place in the history of Broadway productions (The Skin of Our Teeth, and Long Day's Journey Into Night). Their recognition by the Academy of Arts and Science and the Antoinette Perry Awards has been established. They valued the legitimate stage as a professional artistic occupation, and they were dedicated to portraying the playwright's intentions in their interpretations. In addition, they offered their services to the American theatre and the United States Government as Ambassadors abroad. They supported each other through forty-eight years of marriage. Their significance and influence on the development of theatre practice in America, heretofore, has been inadequately acknowledged.