Emma Carus ~ The German Singer

Emma Carus

Emma Carus was a talented singer who appeared in the first Ziegfeld Follies and died young.

She was born Lily Emma Carus on March 18, 1879 in Berlin, Germany. Emma moved to New York City with her family when she was a child. She was a talented contralto singer and made her stage debut at age six. Sadly her mother, singer Henrietta Roland, died in 1891. After completing her opera training Emma began her career in vaudeville. Tragedy struck in 1897 when her boyfriend, theater manager James Burrows, committed suicide. She was so devastated that she tried to kill herself. Her big break came in 1900 when she played Lady Gabriel in the Broadway show The Giddy Thong. Then in October of 1900 she married Nils Mattson, the son of the Minnesota governor. The couple separated the following year. She spent three years performing with the New York theater musical stock company. Emma appeared in numerous Broadway musicals including Woodland, The Medal And The Maid, and The Defender. Although she was not considered a great beauty she became a very popular stage star. She loved performing and said "Never think you are better than your audience, or that you know more than they. Be one of them; take them into your confidence, as it were, as they are for you."  

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In 1905 she married Harry James Everall, a New York businessman who became her manager. She was a featured singer in the very first Ziegfeld Follies in 1907. Her success continued with the hit shows The Jolly Bachelors and The Wife Hunters. Emma introduced the popular song Alexander's Ragtime Band in 1911. She divorced Harry in 1913 claiming he had cheated on her. Soon after she returned to vaudeville. As she got older her health started declining and she was eventually  diagnosed with bulbar paralysis. Emma performed at Chicago's Blackstone theater in January of 1925. It would be her final show. She married piano player Joseph Walter Leopold in on April 4, 1926. A few months later she filed for divorce. Then in October of 1926 she was declared incompetent and was sent to a sanitarium in Los Angeles. She would remain there until her death on November 18, 1927. Emma was only forty-eight years old. Sadly very few of her friends attended her modest funeral. She was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park at Glendale, California.

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Emma Carus 1926