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Theda Bara

Theda Bara

The original vamp of the silver screen, Theda Bara became an icon of sensuality and the exotic for generations.

Moments in History: Jewish Entertainers in Film

For Jewish American Heritage Month, we’ve scoured the Archive for a special selection of posts we are calling Moments in History. This selection includes moments ranging from 1890 to 2011, each profiling a noteworthy moment in the history of female Jewish entertainers.

Vampire Mania: Paying tribute to the original "vamp"

We are a country in the grips of vampire mania.

Birth of Theda Bara, the original "vamp"

July 22, 1890

Silent film star Theda Bara was born.

"New York Times" profile of silent film star, Theda Bara

February 20, 1916

Silent film star Theda Bara was profiled in the "New York Times," following her appearance in "A Fool There Was" in 1915.

Film Industry in the United States

The history of Jewish women’s contribution to the Hollywood film industry has been one of gradual progression toward ever higher levels of participation. For most of Hollywood’s history, the dominant tendency was to achieve a universal image that revealed no traces of ethnic heritage. This trend held until the 1960s and affected all ethnic groups. Only a few dozen Jewish actors were able to make their way into stardom under these constraints. Since the 1960s, however, Hollywood films have reflected a higher degree of ethnic diversity. The result of this change is that increasing numbers of Jewish actors have been able to establish careers in Hollywood.

Theda Bara

Long before Mae West, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Jean Harlowe, and Madonna vamped their way across the silver screen, there was Theda Bara—the original celluloid “vamp.”

Vamping with Theda Bara (Who?!)

One of the highlights of our work at the Jewish Women’s Archive is uncovering hidden histories. In our This Week in History profile this week, we are looking back at silent film star Theda Bara.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Theda Bara." (Viewed on December 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/13836>.

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