Category: Stage & Vaudeville

Roscoe Lee Brown has something to say

Starting out

Roscoe Lee Brown was born on May 2nd 1922 in Woodbury, Gloucester County, New Jersey (not far east of Philadelphia) to a Baptist Minister and his wife. He went to Lincoln College, (now Lincoln University) an all black college in Lincoln College, Pennsylvania and then served in the army in WWII. Afterward he returned to Lincoln to teach French and comparative literature, but at the same time competing internationally as a track star. In 1951 he won the world championship in the 800-yard dash.

Capitalizing on that recognition he was hired by Schenley Import, Corporation, at that time a Kahlua and sole Guinness Stout importer, where he worked as a sales representative until 1956. Then one night he decided, during dinner with friends, he decided to break out & become an actor. The next day he auditioned for, and won, a role in a production at the newly-formed New York Shakespeare Festival.

This is not my favourite scene btw. Mine is his hanging, alas it is not on utube.

He began as a fixture of New York Shakespeare Festival productions and then in 1961 joined James Earl Jones in the original cast of a long running Off Broadway production of “The Blacks” by Jean Genet. But he broke out with his portrayal of the mutinous slave Babu in a 1964 production of “Benito Cereno,” a one-act that was part of Robert Lowell’s trilogy “The Old Glory.” Later in career he was Dr. Foster on the Bill Cosby Show and the cook Jebediah Nightlinger in “The Cowboys.”

The Quincy Tale

In 1974, Quincy Jones suffered an aneurysm. He was given a one-in-a-hundred chance of surviving the operation, and when the doctors shaved his head they saved the hair in a plastic bag, in case they needed to glue it back onto his corpse. By the time it was clear that the operation had been successful, an elaborate memorial concert had already been planned, so Jones figured it might as well go ahead.

“They had invited just about everybody I’d ever known and cared about,” he recalls. “Cannonball Adderley with Freddie Hubbard in the band; Sarah Vaughan; Minnie Riperton; The Main Ingredient, with Cuba Gooding, Sr., on lead vocals; Ray Charles; Billy Eckstine; the Watts Prophets; Marvin Gaye. Roscoe Lee Brown did a recitation… “

Quincy Jones, New Yorker Magazine, October 8th 2001 issue

Even with metal plates in his head, witnessing a memorial service for himself, Jones could not help admiring the talent onstage. “That’s some lineup,” he admits.

The chart

With little information on Roscoe, we’ve pegged him to 19 Cancer, (HS) an “artists model of a legendary bird” because of his ability to take elements of the known make them a whole ” for someone else to use.

With his stellium in the 12th house of great service and secret enemies, highlighting his need to speak out about the racism he raced and with the ruler of the 12th in the 2nd, and sextile, suggests his need to avoid stereotypical “black” roles and instead stand on his own (he played many Shakespearean roles beyond Othello)–see the trine to Mars in the 6th that supports this.

His 4th house with Saturn opposite the Midheaven says he looked for a career that would allow him to be a “voice” of the times. His ascendant in Cancer is trine Saturn in the 4th and its Lord in the 10th suggests he found some amount of success in his life but also hints at the gastric cancer from which he died at 81.

As always, thanks for dropping in and if you enjoyable our writeup on the late Mr. Brown, please give us a like.

#44 British Actor George Arliss

George Arliss, original name Augustus George Andrews, (born April 10, 1868, London, Eng.—died Feb. 5, 1946, London from chronic bronchitis age 77). He portrayed many historic personages in motion pictures.

He began his acting career in 1887 but found success when he appeared with Mrs. Patrick Campbell in London during the 1900–01 season. In 1902 he played in The Second Mrs. Tanqueray in New York City, and in 1911 he had the title role in Disraeli that he would reprise later in film for an Oscar.

Arliss, George; Arliss, Florence
George and his wife  Florence.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. They often acted together. They were married on September 16 1899 in London.

Arliss was an established leading actor when he turned to films in 1920. His pictures include The Green Goddess (1930), Old English (1930), Alexander Hamilton (1931), The House of Rothschild (1934), and Cardinal Richelieu (1935). He won an Oscar for best actor of 1929–30 for his role in the film version of the British PM Benjamin Disraeli. He also wrote several plays and two autobiographical works: Up the Years from Bloomsbury (1927) and My Ten Years in the Studios (1940).

George’s Charts

While the Moon’s speed is about average, Arliss’s mercury is far ahead of his son for Fast Mental Chemistry. His Line of Vitality, which is not a proxy for the hyleg, is absent.

We have rectified Mr. Arliss for 17 Leo and 12:30 PM instead of the 12:06 AM and the 20 Sagittarius that Marc Jones cites. Interestingly, both give Arliss a fire ascendant. Our rectification places Pluto in his 10th house that is pertinent because it was not until 1930 that he won an Academy Award — Clyde Tombaugh discovered Pluto in February of that year. Dr. Jones’s would put Pluto roughly in the 12th House.

The chart, a fanhandle <sup> 1 </sup>, shows how much his career was owed to his popularity no different from a politician but with the preponderance in the 8th House for those celebrities long dead.

The chart above shows his marriage to Florence Kate Montgomery Smith. While obviously they were both thespians and attracted to each other’s abilities (the dual preponderance in the 5th house) it also shows their great loyalty and love for one another (see the Part of Fortune conjunct his Sun and Neptune). The Mars in the fourth house here depicts not squabbling but a great passion.

The final chart is for Arliss’s death on February 5, 1946 at home in London using Converse Solar Arc Directions, because this is a concrete (physical) event. Venus, that viral contagion, is in the 8th House conjunct Mercury and the lungs. With penicillin discovered but not publicly available, Arliss’s bout with bronchitis was to end fatally.


  1. Marc Edmund Jones does not mention the fanhandle in his Essentials of Astrology, that temperament type was defined by astrologer Robert Jansky in his privately published pamphlet, Planetary Patterns. We agree with Jansky’s rationale and have seen its significance in many patterns and so have adopted it. This is one of the many ways we have broken with Dr. Jones.

#62 Tallulah Bankhead

                “My father warned me about men and alcohol; he said nothing about women and cocaine.”  …………………. Tallulah Bankhead


There was always some suspicion about Ms. Bankhead’s sexual preference, but with her Ascendant of 21 Virgo opposite Pallas in Pisces on the seventh house cusp, we have do doubt that one of her most famous quotes, was dead to rites.  she was born in Huntsville, Alabama on January 31, 1902 — she often lied and said 1906 — and died in Chestertown, Maryland on December 12, 1968

The Washington News August 1919

Her grandfather was US Senator of Alabama, John Hollis Bankhead, and her father, William Brockman Bankhead, served as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Her uncle was US Senator John Hollis Bankhead II and her aunt Marie Bankhead Owen became Director of the Alabama State Achieves, the first women to head a department of Alabama state government.  Her mother died when she was young.

                             Astrological Notes

  1. Her Ascendant is 21 Virgo,  healing messages left for the future.
    1. It is opposite Pallas in Pisces, siren singers distract from one’s concentration.
    2. It is square, almost exactly, to her midheaven that in turn is opposite her Uranus in Sagittarius 20,  the ingenuity of faking it.
    3. Her Ascendant’s ruler, Mercury, is inconjunct it and in the midst of fiery Mars and sugary Venus:  she was a good businesswoman, and indeed left 2 million to charity after crying poverty for most of her life.

The Neon Tetra Fish

  1. Her midheaven is 20 Gemini,  A fishbown with many neon tetra fish.
    1. It’s ruler is also Mercury and trine it in the sixth house.  She knew where the money was and followed it.
    2. Pluto is conjunct her Midheaven.
    3. Her Part of Fortune is also conjunct her Midheaven at 27 Gemini, Sven blue birds changing their home to another tree, highlighting her ability to leave her beloved Broadway and go work for Hitchcock in Hollywood during WWII.

  1. Her Moon in Scorpio is a tad wide to be trine her Venus in Pisces but the translation of light from Mars, Scorpio’s ruler to Venus, makes it work.  This aspect shows her drug debauchery and that her nasally voice was probably like fellow addict, Peter Lorre, a result.
    1. Square Mars-Mercury-Venus also highlights her lifelong sibling rivalry with her sister, Evelyn Eugenia, whom she disinherited.
  2. Ceres in Libra in the first shows she could work both sides of the fence if needed, but she had her preferences.  She married fellow actor John Emery in 1937; they were divorced in 1941.  Neither remarried.
  3. She has a “gestalt” mental chemistry.
  4. Her Line of Vitality is sextile.
  5. Her Line of Culture is in opposition.
  6. Her line of efficiency is absent.
  7. She has a Grand Trine in Earth.
  8. Tallulah is a See-Saw Temperament type.


#138 Funny Girl Fanny Brice

Marc Jones has no time listed for Fanny (born Fania Borach) Brice and gives October 30 1891 for her birth date.   Astrotheme differs with Marc Jones entirely and says she was born the day before    Herbert M. Goldman’s biography, Fanny Brice the Original Funny Girl support the Astrotheme date but  Astrotheme’s  time of 11 am with a 01 Capricorn rising, makes no sense, so we  have rectified it to one later around 5 pm, keeping Fanny in the earthly quadrature, but changes the emphasis.  The correct date is October 29, 1891 at 5 PM with a Taurus 11 rising in Brooklyn, New York.

The header picture is of Fanny and her third husband, Billy Rose, and the two Arnstein children from Vanity Fair, 1936.

                     Fanny & Time Forgot

Taurus 11 has the Hyperion Symbol of “Time forgotten in memory, and then recalled,” highlighting Fanny’s ability to never forget her Lower East side (Bowery) roots despite her great success and love of high fashion.  She was known to put on gala affairs where New York City’s elite gathered complete with expensive Rosenthal china, Waterford crystal and Delmonico catering and then belch,   bursting  out in uproarious laughter, much to the shock of her upper-crust guests.
October 29 1891 5 pm.

in the Beginning

Both of Fanny’s parents were Orthodox Jewish though they did not practice it faithfully.   Her mother was a Hungarian Jew and her father from Alsace-Lorraine France.  Fanny like her mother was an ambitious woman with a strong drive (Mars in the 6th).  Her chart shows her weakness for fancy men like her (Venus opposite her ascendant) father “Pinochle Charlie”
Like many show biz people from before the first World War, she hated “phonies.”   A Broadway producer once insisted he would give her “my right arm” if she worked for him. “Listen, kid,” (Fan called everyone kid copying George M. Cohan.)  “I happen to know you got a whole drawer full of right arms.”Herbert Goldman, The Original Funny girl

The Many Loves of Fanny

While her relationship with gangster Nicky Arnstein is legendary, like some Freudian confusion of both her mother who owned saloons and her father that gambled in them, she repeated this foible with Hollywood’s Billy Rose, an American theatrical impresario who had composed over 50 song hits.
Billy Rose with the Ring, Mayor Walker reading the book and the woman to her right, Rose Borach, Fanny’s mother.
On February 8, 1929, Billy Rose and Fanny Brice were married at City Hall, with mayor Jimmy Walker officiating.  Just before the ceremony, Rose turned to Walker and said “I’ll give you a dollar now and the other dollar if it’s a success.”ibid. Both ended in divorce never living up to her fantasy that like her father they would always be enamored of her. While neither marriage lasted long, their good looks, suave manner and ardent flirtations were an aphrodisiac that she blossomed under.
Fanny Borach—her friends called her “Borax,” “Twenty-Mule Team Borax,” and, in “tribute” to her stage ambitions, “Bore Act”.²   She stood five feet six inches tall by the time she was twelve, almost her adult height of five foot eight, and weighed about one hundred pounds. Her light brown, naturally curly hair came down to her waist, though Fanny tied it at her neck with an enormous ribbon. Her green eyes were easily her most attractive feature. ibid.

                                                                   Mapping Fanny

Marc Jones was entranced by Fanny too and wrote her up in his Essential of Astrological Analysis.  He neglected to mention was her preponderance of her preponderance in the seventh house suggesting her “special consistency of purpose through opportunity and relationships where her acceptance accrues because of her exceptional individuality.” 3
Fanny, seated with John Brice.  Flanking her are Wendy and Peter Stark.
Her preponderance of trines in her chart, like that of Emperor Hirohito of the Jones 1000, both with nine, reminds us how much Fanny was a product of her time and culture, which was able to capitalize on in her career.  The lack of fire in her chart,  makes Fanny an experience junkie feeding into her desire to express life and capture that for later reuse.  This may also tell us why she was a “sucker” as she termed it, for the men in her life — she wanted the material.

  Death Notice

May 29, 1951, Los Angeles, California

                                                                 The Movie Funny Girl.

Here is a scene of Barbra Streisand from her debut as Funny Girl, a rather romantic and Hollywoodized version of Fanny’s life.  Nick Arnstein objected to Omar Sharif’s portrayal of him on the grounds he was “short.”


  1.  Goldman, Herbert.  Fanny Brice the Original Funny Girl. c. 1992, Oxford Publishing House, Oxford, England.
  2.  The Bore-Act nickname was a major reason she changed her name from Borach to Brice, an Irish surname.  The Brices were close family friends and pleased by her choice.
  3.  Jones, Marc Edmund. The Essentials of Astrological Analysis, c. 1960, Sabian Publishing Society, Stanwood, WA.
  4. The 11 am birth time touted by
  5. 11 am fanny.png

#668 Mei Lan-fang as jingxi

When Mei Lan-fang died in 1961, China mourned his passing.  s the passing of Mei Lan-fang.  Even  Premier Chou En-lai and other Party and government leaders were among those who visited him during his last illness and a 61-member funeral committee was setup.  Memorial meetings were held on August 10 1961 for the great opera nanfan.

The young Mei Lanfang

Mei Lan-fang was naturally a  member of the Chinese Communist Party joining the party formally in 1959. He had devoted his whole life to the development of the traditional arts of the people.¹  His ninth child and son, Mei Baojiu, followed in his footsteps but he died at 82 in 2016.

Mr. Lan-fang was the son and grandson of noted opera singers, and under that influence, Mei began studying jingxi at the Peking Opera at age 8 and made his stage debut at 11, playing a weaving girl. Thereafter he played mostly female roles, becoming especially known for his portrayal of the “Flower-Shattering Diva”; his style of dance won such acclaim over the years that it came to be known as the “Mei Lanfang school.”

At age 13 he joined the Xiliancheng Theatrical Company and, through performances in Shanghai and elsewhere, acquired a national reputation. He toured Japan in 1919 and 1924, the United States in 1930, and the Soviet Union in 1932 and 1935.²

Some of his most famous roles are Bai Niangzi in Duanqiao (“Broken Bridge”), Lin Daiyu in Daiyu zanghua (“Daiyu Buries Flowers”), Yuji in Bawang bieji (“Farewell My Concubine”), and Yang Yuhuan in Guifei zuijiu (“Concubine Gets Drunk”).

Jingxi is highly formalized as the characters are encoded in traditional steps, postures, and arm movements. Traditionally it was an all-male cast with female impersonators.  The actors wear elaborate face paint to show the characters they play and acrobatics are used to suggest violent action. Wooden clappers, a small drum, stringed instruments are the musical accompaniment with narration interspersed for the actors to rest and change costume.

marc mei lan fang.png

Marc Edmund Jones set Mr. Lan-fang’s time at 6 am giving the above chart in Koch, a modern variant of Placidus, format.  We rectified 26 Libra to 27 Pisces and got the following.  Mr. Lan-fang is a lipped bowl.

mei lan fan.png


  1. From the Peking Review, August 8 1961.
  2. Encyclopedia Britannica entry.

#303 The Dolls House of Eleanora Duse

Eleonora Duse was born Oct. 3, 1858, near Vigevano, Lombardy, in then the Austrian Empire — now Italy.  She died April 21, 1924 in  Pittsburgh, Pa., U.S. Marc Jones gives her birth time as 2:00 am but we find that a bit fast, and rectified her to 1:30 am with an ascendant of 18 LEO 20.  This symbol is {SS}  a “houseboat party, ” apropos, because she worked with the theatrical ensemble to entertain the paying guests (audience).

The red marker is where Miss Duse was born — it is north of Venice.

An Italian actress, her great interpretive roles in the heroines of the Italian playwright Gabriele D’Annunzio, and considered a great Italian poet of the 20th in his home country, and Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. She came from a family of actors, who toured often in the same troup, and so it is no surprise that she made her stage debut in 1862 at age 4 in Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables as the young orphan Fantine.

Everything changed with Sarah

Sarah Bernhardt

But in 1882, Miss Eleanora, saw the great French stage actress Sarah Bernhardt #93 perform. This inspired her to tackle contemporary French dramatists like the younger Alexandre Dumas. The first of these performances  was Lionette in La Princesse de Bagdad, where she scored a triumph. She followed that with Cesarine in La Femme de Claude, and in 1884 she created the title role of Dumas’s latest play, Denise, and the part of Santuzza in Giovanni Verga’s Cavalleria rusticana.

With Cesare Rossi, a prominent actor-manager, she toured South America in 1885, but after her return to Italy she formed her own company, the Drama Company of the City of Rome, and with it toured throughout Europe as well as the United States.

In 1894 she met and fell in love with a rising young poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio (March 12, 1863 to March 11, 1938) ; she financed his career, and he wrote for her a number of plays. He eventually broke off the relationship and exposed their intimacy in the erotic novel Il fuoco (1900; The Flame of Life), much to her horror. His greatest play was La figlia di Iorio (performed 1904; The Daughter of Jorio), a poetic drama of the fears and superstitions of Abruzzi peasants, probably insulting her religious views — he eventually became a fascist with Il Duce.

Duse, Nora and Hedda

Miss Eleanora though found her muse in the dramas of Henrik Ibsen. She never tired of playing Nora in A Doll’s House, and Hedda Gabler was a close second. Both heroines probably sparked within her something she personally longed for — walking out of a relationship and asserting herself ; Ibsen himself did not like her performance because it was too emotional and seeing both women as more cerebral.

the younger Eleanora

But, the playwright George Bernard Shaw was totally entranced. He confessed that  “she had an apparent million of changes and inflexions” & he had never seen her at an “awkward angle” (Dramatic Opinions and Essays, 1907). Plus, she had a thousand faces; her physical command, range, and choice of gesture were superb; and she had a different way of walking for each part and so the total effect was of more than “naturalistic” acting.

What really struck the playwright Shaw was that Duse acted not only the reality of the play,  but also understood the subtext of the character and  so “knew” more about Nora the character than author Ibsen or the heroine herself could possibly have known about her own self.   One of her critics wrote that Duse played what was between the lines; and to watch her was to read a psychological novel.

In 1909 Duse quit the stage, because of her health. However, she incurred heavy financial losses during World War I and reemerged in 1921. Her acting powers were undiminished, but her voice did not carry and taxed her health further. In 1923 she appeared in London and Vienna before embarking upon her last US tour. After the curtain call, in Pittsburgh, the city Andrew Carnegie built, she collapsed; she was 65.

An older Eleanora

In compliance with her wishes, she was buried in Asolo Cemetery in Veneto, outside of Venezia (Venice)  Italy,   but a memorial stands in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn as well.  the University of Glasgow, Scotland has many original playbills and photographs of the actress, available alas only there.

The Asolo Italy graveside of Miss Duse

Question to the Times

In a recent visit to Green-Wood Cemetery, I noticed a memorial to Eleanora Duse, the great Italian actress. Since she is buried in Italy, why is there a memorial in Brooklyn?

A. It is a tribute by starstruck fan who saw her as a little boy.

Eleanora Duse (1858-1924), was the leading interpreter of Ibsen and an important figure in the development of modern acting style. There was such grief on the two continents when Duse (the name was pronounced DOO-zeh) died on tour in Pittsburgh that long lines attended her funeral in New York, and tearful admirers watched the liner Duilio depart for Naples carrying her body.

One little boy, Martin Waldron in particular , who had been adopted by an Italian-American family that loved theater. On Duse’s final tour in New York, his grandmother, Rosa Catania, following Italian tradition, took the child, then about 18 months old, to meet her. The grandmother asked the actress if she would be Martin’s godmother. It would be an honor, Duse replied.

the Waldron Connection

You can listen to the interview with Mr. Waldron about his grandmother and godmother, at WQXR, then the New York Times classical radio station, here.

Mr. Waldron, who is now 83 and lives in Park Slope, went on to a long career in what he called “a profession of tears and rejection” onstage (including “King Lear” and “Saint Joan” on Broadway) and as a voice teacher. Around 1961 he bought a family plot on a hill in Green-Wood Cemetery.

On one side of the memorial stone is the name of his family members. On the other side are the words “Eleanora Duse” and an inscription about dedication and perseverance. “It was just an impulse,” Waldron said, ” the link being my grandmother and the presentation.”

Eleanora’s Horoscope

eleanore duse.png

Miss Duse’s ascendant is 18 Leo. Its lord is in the third house of Libra, a superb spot for actors and performers because of their ability to transmit ideas & feelings and create pathways of new correlations. Her Mercury far ahead of her Sun, in the 2nd house, suggesting t she will indeed make a small fortune through her talents, creating her Mental Chemistry of   eager for new ideas and trends.

Marriage not in the stars

The Moon is conjunct her ascendant, just minutes off, it making the two almost co-rulers to her chart, giving her a sangfroid elan as well as a verve and emotional liveliness that made her roles come alive on stage. Indeed, the Moon is square her Venus in the fourth house highlighting her ability to “interpret” female roles in ways unforeseen by their author. Alas the square also highlights the obstacles she suffered in marrying the man she loved, probably of their difference in religious belief (mars to the 9th house opposite Mercury).

Saturn is right on the cusp of her first house and Capricorn, its essential sign, giving her extra sensitivity to all she experienced. Capricorn the sign, makes an appearance in the sixth house of work & service, but inconjunct, warning overwork and physical exhaustion could take a heavy toll as Mars, who is exalted in Saturn, is square the god of Commerce Mercury, and forcing a complete nervous collapse.

Neptune opposite Mercury (8 to 2), shows her native time and almost selfless devotion to her performance. Neptune sextile Pluto hints she may have deluded herself to the extent of her exhaustion and rallied herself so that the “show can go on.”    This sextile working into the opposition, also hints that War will deplete her resources, and so it did.

  1. Miss Duse’s Line of Vitality is absent.
  2. Her line of efficiency is absent
  3. Her line of Motivation is semi-square suggesting that she had a restless nature and wanted to go out in a blaze of glory.
  4. Her line of Culture is is absent.
  5. Her Dynamic Aptitude is mercury square Jupiter highlighting her lack of judgement and poor education.

Neil Simon + Bill Shakespeare

neil simon theatre

Mr Simon’s natal chart was rectified and shown below. His ascendant is Libra 22° with the symbol of “A little child is laughing as the streaming water turns into a grotto and the birds hurry to drink”. This fits a man who wrote play on the Book of Job and made it a comedy, for as he said in his autobiography, he believed God has a sense of humor.  The symbol is one of the intuitive understanding & the sympathy for a life that accompanies genuine youthfulness in spirit. The keyword is FURTHERANCE.


                                    Birth of a Playwright.

Marvin Neil Simon was born in the Bronx, New York, on July 4, 1927, to Irving Simon, a salesman in the garment district, and Mamie Levy Simon, a saleslady at Gimbel’s department store. He had one brother, Danny Simon, eight years his senior. He grew up in the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan and graduated from the then all-boys DeWitt Clinton High School on Moshulu Parkway in the Bronx.   Simon studied at New York University and then the University of Denver while serving in the U.S. Army Air Force Reserve.  While the chart above does not show the Asteroid Shakespeare because I am having some troubles with Kepler 8.0, it is conjunct, about 2 degrees away, from his midheaven.

                                                                                               and the earthly demise

simon progressed

His progressed chart is above in blue with the empty houses emboldened in gold. It was put to what his agent said was his approximate time of death of 1 PM and has the ascendant of 30 Sagittarius that has the symbol of “bathing beauties” with the meaning of someone who stands radiant in his individuality and person.  By the time he died, Simon was now a see-saw temperament type, probably highlighting his dementia as he had moments of lucidity. Neptune in the eighth suggests fluid retention and Venus in Virgo that his body could not eliminate waste by products easily. His Moon opposite his Pluto suggests there was some amount of regret of his treatment of people and family members.

We are not doing Mr. Simon’s chart at this time, but will give you a hint, he and Felix Unger of the Odd Couple had a lot in common. Maybe too much for Simon’s comfort as this was a play that he signed away the television rights and took the cash. It was definitely out of character and something in his autobio he constantly regretted — see Saturn in the second house in Sagittarius and its aspects to understand why.