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Evelyn Nesbit Thaw
(same as Evelyn Nesbitt Thaw, Mrs. Harry K. Thaw and Mrs. Thaw)

Born 25 December 1884 in Tarentum, Pennsylvania, USA, as Florence Evelyn Nesbit.
Died 17 January 1967 in a nursing home in Santa Monica, California, USA.

Married Harry K. Thaw 4 April 1905; son Russell William Thaw, born 25 October 1910 (paternity denied by Harry Thaw, who was in prison), died 1984; divorced circa 1915.
Married vaudeville dancer Jack Clifford 1916; separated 1918; divorced 1933.

Evelyn Nesbit Thaw began modeling for artists in her early teens to support her widowed mother and siblings, eventually moving with her family to New York where she became the inspiration for The Gibson Girl as illustrated by Charles Dana Gibson. She extended her career into stage work as a chorus girl on Broadway, catching the eye of Madison Square Garden architect Stanford White, a notorious womanizer 30+ years her senior. Evelyn Nesbit was courted by a young John Barrymore, by whom she twice became pregnant, but would not marry him — largely due to Evelyn’s continued fascination with White and the influence of her money-conscious mother. Evelyn eventually became the wife of Pennsylvania railroad and coal fortune heir Harry K. Thaw, who became the jealous murderer of Stanford White in the roof theatre of Madison Square Garden on 25 June 1906. The murder was a nationwide scandal, and a number of films were made reenacting the details made public from Harry Thaw’s two murder trials for curious motion picture audiences.

Evelyn Nesbit Thaw worked again as a vaudeville dancer, drawing on her notoriety for a modest living, and starred in her debut film with her young son Russell in 1914. Evelyn continued sporatically in motion pictures from 1916 through 1919, making her final film in 1922. She attempted suicide in the mid-1920s to escape financial destitution.

Evelyn eventually received a modest $10,000 inheritance from the will of her former husband Thaw after his 22 February 1947 heart attack death in Miami, Florida. Evelyn Nesbit Thaw’s life was the inspiration of the film The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955), portrayed by Joan Collins, and she was the basis of a fictionalized character in the film Ragtime (1981), adapted from E.L. Doctorow’s novel, portrayed by Elizabeth McGovern.

References: Website-IMDb; Website-Wikipedia.

Book: Tragic Beauty: The Lost 1914 Memoirs of Evelyn Nesbit edited by Deborah Dorian Paul

Book : American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White: The Birth of the ‘It’ Girl and the Crime of the Century by Paula Uruburu

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