Clara T. Bracy

Clara T. Bracy (1 January 1848 22 February 1941) was an English stage and silent film actress.

Clara T. Bracy
Clara Rose Hodges

(1848-01-01)1 January 1848
London, England
Died22 February 1941(1941-02-22) (aged 93)
Years active1908–1932
Spouse(s)Henry Bracy (1873–1917; his death)
Children2 sons

Life and career

Bracy was born Clara Rose Hodges in London, England. Her father was Edward Hodges, and her mother was Eliza (née Cooper) who married 29 September 1842. Her father owned the Royal Oak Public House in London. Clara Rose had several step-siblings including actress Lydia Thompson.[1][2] Clara Rose Hodges had three biological brothers who were triplets born 16 July 1844: Abraham Edward Hodges, Isaac William Hodges and Jacob George Hodges.

In September 1873, Bracy and her husband, tenor Henry Bracy, travelled to Australia to perform in Jacques Offenbach's operetta Lischen et Fritzchen at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne,[3]

They continued in various parts in Australia before being engaged by Irish musical impresario William Saurin Lyster to lead a season of French operetta. For Lyster, they performed in operettas for five years, including in Lecocq's La fille de Madame Angot and Giroflé Girofla. Offenbach pieces included The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, La belle Hélène, Barbe-bleue, La Périchole, La princesse de Trébizonde and Les brigands, and Hervé's Chilpéric was given. These were followed by the first Australian production of Les cloches de Corneville.[4] She was well received by the press.[3] During these years, the couple took a tour of the United States in 1876.[5] In 1880, the couple returned to Britain, where they continued to build their reputations in comic opera and operetta.[3]

In 1888 the Bracys returned to Australia, performing in concerts and then at the Sydney Opera House for a season, conducted by Henri Kowalski, in Kowalski's Moustique, The Beggar Student[4] In 1890, they led their own company in productions of The Sultan of Mocha, The Beggar Student, and The Lady of the Locket at the Criterion Theatre.[4] They then joined J. C. Williamson's Royal Comic Opera Company, performing in Gilbert and Sullivan and other comic operas.[3][6] The couple had two sons, one of whom, Sidney Bracy, became an actor, appearing on stage with Williamson and then in Britain and America before becoming a successful film actor. Their other son, Philip, who became a West End actor,[7] was wounded as a young soldier.[4]

Clara moved to California and in 1908 to appear in D.W. Griffith's 1908 film The Red Girl, leaving her husband behind in Australia. She also appeared on Broadway for Charles Frohman. Clara appeared in 90 films between 1908 and 1932, becoming one of the earliest film actresses. Bracy's husband died in 1917.[3] At the time of Henry Bracy's death, Clara had been living in New York with her son Sydney.[4] Clara Bracy died in Los Angeles, California in 1941, aged 93.

Selected filmography


  1. "Music and Drama", The Mercury, 6 February 1917, p. 8, accessed 21 February 2010
  2. Gänzl, Kurt. "Lydia Thompson", Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre, Blackwell/Schirmer (1994)
  3. Mills, Tony (1979). "Bracy, Henry (1841? - 1917)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 20 February 2010.
  4. "Music and Drama", The Sydney Morning Herald, 3 February 1917, p. 8; accessed 21 February 2010
  5. "The Drama in America", The Era, 1 October 1876, p. 5; and "The Drama in Australia", The Era, 24 March 1878, p. 4
  6. Moratti, Mel. Down Under in the 19th Century Archived 20 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 10 February 2010
  7. The Observer, 5 April 1903, p. 7
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