Doris Keane

Doris Keane (December 12, 1881 - November 25, 1945) was an American actress, primarily in live theatre.

Doris Keane
Basil Sydney and Doris Keane as Romeo and Juliet.
Born(1881-12-12)December 12, 1881
DiedNovember 25, 1945(1945-11-25) (aged 63)
Resting placeTower Hill Cemetery, Edgartown Dukes County Massachusetts[1]
Years active1903-1925
Spouse(s)Basil Sydney
(1918–25; divorced)


Early life and family

Keane was born in St. Joseph, Michigan to Joseph Keane and Minnie Florence Winter, a comedian. She was educated largely in Europe.[2]


Her first professional role was in Whitewashing Julia in 1903. This was a small role, but she went on to play leading roles in The Happy Marriage in 1909 and The Lights o' London in 1911.[2]

In 1913, she played Margherita Cavallini in Edward Sheldon's Romance. Her leading man in this long-running play was William Courtenay, who played the part of a priest. Sheldon originally had offered the male lead to his friend John Barrymore, but Barrymore turned it down, preferring to still do comedies. Sheldon reportedly fell in love with her and yearned for her all his life. She played this part in the United States and Europe for the next five years and returned in revivals regularly during the 1920s.[2]

In 1920, she made a silent film of Romance distributed by the then newly formed United Artists. Her male lead in the film was Basil Sydney.[3] She played Catherine the Great in Czarina in 1922 after Sheldon had revised the play especially for her.[2]

She married Basil Sydney, 13 years her junior, in 1918; they divorced in 1925.[3] She had one child, Ronda Keane (1915-2008), born in Cannes, France in 1915. Ronda's father was the financier Howard Gould.[4] He acknowledged his paternity but never married Doris. Ronda married Dr Carl Muschenheim, a New York-based thoracic specialist, in 1951.

Doris Keane was an avid reader, leaving behind an extensive library, including The Upanishads. She was a favorite subject for artists of the day, among them the sculptor Jacob Epstein and the portraitist De Laszlo. There are at least two Royal Doulton figurines of her, one holding the monkey that was part of the play Romance.


She died in New York City at the LeRoy Sanitarium where she was being treated for cancer aged 63 in November 1945 and was cremated; she is buried on Martha's Vineyard. Her daughter Ronda's ashes were interred with her when Ronda died in 2008.


  1. Profile,; accessed 9 April 2015.
  2. Profile,; accessed April 9, 2015.
  3. Doris Keane on IMDb
  4. Obitsforlife: Ronda Keane Muschenheim (nee Gould) Obituary Retrieved March 10, 2015 (Wayback Machine; Retrieved March 28, 2018)
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