I recently purchased this lovely portrait of Ida Jennie St Leon, 3rd generation “St Leon”, off an eBay site. This portrait was made in Chicago, about the year 1924, when Ida was near the end of her professional theatrical career.

Ida was born in Sydney in 1894, the daughter of Alfred and Vernon Ida “St Leon”, outstanding equestrians in the St Leon family circus. By 1900, Alfred, his wife and several children had reached the United States and entered the world of American show business. None of the family ever saw Australia again.

Ida was an accomplished circus performer (acrobat, bareback rider, tightwire walker) before she turned to acting on the theatre stage about 1910. She played the lead role of “Polly” in the production “Polly of the Circus” which was toured throughout the US and Canada for several years. Ida then moved into conventional acting roles. In 1917, she was voted one of the ten most popular actresses in the US.
Ida married a businessman, Leo Maurice Rosenberg, in Los Angeles in 1917. They had one son, Leo Alfred Rosenberg (who I met and interviewed in Malibu CA in 1995). Ida died in Los Angeles in 1961.

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