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Western, Lucille and Helen

“HELEN WESTERN. Her Death—Brief Resume of her Career.”

From the Washington Chronicle:

The well known actress, Helen Western, died at the Kirkwood House, in this city, yesterday morning. Few actresses of such limited ability have succeeded in becoming so widely known. Helen Western was a sister of Lucille Western, and the career of both resemble each other very closely. To Lucille, however, was given greater natural talents, which, in spite of lack of culture, would often startlingly assert themselves in such parts as Leah and Lady Isabella.

Both sisters were first brought into prominent notice by their stepfather, a Mr. English, during the run of a dubious piece called “The Three Fast Men,” originally produced in Boston in 1858. Helen was then eighteen years of age, being at the time of her death about twenty-eight, perhaps more. Kind-hearted, cheerful in disposition, and easy to please, she was a star actress more popular with the members of the profession than with either the critics or the general public. She was twice married—once to a lawyer of Baltimore city, and afterward to Mr. Herne [herue, heroe?], a stock actor, now in California. From both husbands she was separated; from the first by divorce, from the second by mutual consent. In person Helen was very beautiful; of large proportions, dark eyed and fair skinned, with glossy black hair, and a foot which, for size and symmetry, would not have disgraced Titanis. Though, during the war, both sisters made money, Helen died anything but rich, and Lucille, now in California, left here in indigent circumstances, though in less than five years she earned and received from various theaters upwards of two hundred thousand dollars.

The grave covers all faults, and a decent respect for those lately passed away has made it a rule to tell all the good and suppress all the evil that might be said of public persons after their decease. We have no inclination, even though we question the justice and wisdom of the practice, to depart from it in this case, satisfied that both sisters have been far more sinned against than sinning.

The last engagement ever played by Helen Western was played here, at Wall’s Opera House, and was closed a week ago last Saturday, she playing the part of “Jack Sheppard,” under the management of Mr. Sanderson.

Memphis Daily Appeal, 16 December 1868. Print.

(Dowagiac, MI)