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Definition: Bara from The Macquarie Dictionary

Theda /'θidə/ /'theeduh/ (born Theodosia Goodman)

1890—1955, US actor, especially in silent films; gave currency to the term ‘vamp’.


Summary Article: Theda Bara
from Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins

Theodosia Burr Goodman (1885-1955), U.S. stage, movie actress. Goodman was the daughter of Bernard Goodman, a Polish Jew, and Pauline Louise de Coppet, a French immigrant. In 1917, Goodman's parents legally changed their name to Bara, after de Coppet's Swiss father, Francis Bara de Coppet. Goodman thus first came on stage under the name Theodosia de Coppet. Then in 1914 she was cast as the vampire in the movie A Fool There Was (1915), directed by Frank Powell, who renamed her Theda Bara for the part. For publicity purposes, as the first “vamp,” Goodman was said to be the love child of a French artist and his Egyptian mistress, her name a near-reversal of “Arab death.” “The anagrammatic connection between Theda Bara and Arab Death so often evoked in awed tones is today like an archaeological find, proving only that we live in a different culture” [Thomson 2003, p. 50].

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Subject: cinema and film The film A Fool There Was, directed by Frank Powell, is released in the USA, starring Theda Bara.

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