August 30, 1910: Birth of Duluth actress Elinor Harriot

On this day in Duluth in 1910, Eleanor Harriet Hirschfield was born to Dr. Max and Edith Hirschfield. As a child Eleanor showed interest in performing and later, while attended the University of Wisconsin in Madison, she met fellow student and future actor Don Ameche in the drama department. Leaving college after a year, she traveled around the country appearing in plays with stock companies. By October of 1929, she had landed in New York with a part in The Bonds of Interest with Walter Hampden at Hampden’s Theater. By then she had taken the stage name Elinor Harriot. In February of 1932, Harriot was working as the understudy for actress Dorothy Gish in a George M. Cohan Broadway production of The Bride the Sun Shines On. On Saturday, February 6, Gish became ill with influenza and couldn’t perform. Harriot, then just 22, went on in Dorothy’s place for the matinee and evening performances. She had just an hour’s notice to prepare. It is said that the cast rewarded Elinor with a string of amber beads for her success, and it marked the start of an accomplished acting career. Read more about Harriot and her acting career here.

Elinor Harriot. (Image: Duluth Public Library)

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