Constance Purdy

Constance Purdy (August 3, 1887 April 1, 1960) was an American film actress and classical music performer.[1]

Purdy was born in St. Louis, Missouri on August 3, 1887 to American railroad executive Thomas C. Purdy (April 13, 1846; June 17, 1924) and Janet Campbell Purdy (1847; April 10, 1892).[2] As a young girl she reportedly sang for Tsar Nicholas in Russia. At the age of 16 Purdy studied voice in Paris, rooming with future opera diva and film actress Geraldine Farrar,[3] before embarking on a career as a contralto singer, lecturer, and translator of traditional Russian songs. Her friend and personal representative Mabel F. Hammond,[4] often accompanied her on piano.[5]

Purdy did not enter into film acting until 1934, with her first appearance, uncredited, being in the film Pursued starring Rosemary Ames. The 1930s saw her in four film appearances, only one of which was credited, that being in the 1935 film Thunder in the Night starring Edmund Lowe and Karen Morley. Most of her film appearances were in the 1940s, playing fifty different roles from 1940 to 1949, of which only six were credited. During the 1950s she had four film appearances, one of which was credited, and one television series appearance. She appeared in a 1951 episode of the TV series The Lone Ranger entitled "Trouble at Black Rock." During this period Purdy remained active in music circles, teaming up with Grace Widney Mabee,[6] chair of the National Film Music Council, to launch Film Music Notes,[7] and serving as the journal's co-editor.[8][9]

Purdy retired after 1952, and was living in Los Angeles at the time of her death on April 1, 1960, aged 72.

Partial filmography


  1. Campbell, Viola Vaille (Barnes) (1914). "An Exponent of American and Russian Songs". The Musical Monitor. Mrs David Allen Campbell, Publisher. 4: 316.
  2. Who's Who in Railroading in North America. 96. Simmons-Boardman. 1906. p. 486.
  3. "Opera Star, 1903 S.B. Queen, At Opening of Civic Light Opera". CDNC. San Bernardino County. 10 May 1959. p. 37.
  4. National Federation of Music Clubs, ed. (1916). "Constance Purdy and Russian Music". The Musical Monitor. Mrs David Allen Campbell, Publisher. 6: 14, 233.
  5. Constance Purdy (1916). "Costume Recital". The Musical Monitor. Mrs David Allen Campbell, Publisher. 6: 366.
  6. "Grace Widney Mabee". Pacific Coast Musical Review. A Metzger. 42: 140. 1922.
  7. "Bulletin Board". Music Educators Journal. 33 (1): 12–16. 1946. JSTOR 3388425.
  8. Film Music Notes. IX. 1949. pp. 5ff.
  9. Jack Alicoate, ed. (1945). The 1945 Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures. The Film Daily Year Book. 27 (Annual ed.). p. 746.
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