Joining Ranks with Garbo and Gish, Kathleen Turner Proves That Playing Camille Is Not a Dying Art
Turner, 32, says she took the part—at a fraction of her usual salary—to help establish herself as a stage actress. Her sacrifice seems justified. Camille's six-week run at the Long Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn, has been sold out, and the production may move next to Broadway.
This latest adaptation of Alexandre Dumas' 1852 play, La Dame aux Camélias, is more modern and less romantic than any that have gone before. A gutsy feminist, pragmatic Camille gives up her aristocrat only after his family agrees to put her son through school. Yet Turner's version retains the tear-jerking appeal that has made the play a crowd pleaser since it was first produced. Its story has remained familiar through film and TV translations, and through Verdi's powerful 1853 opera, La Traviata. Here is a roundup of notable Camilles. Some are now more famous than others, but all were capable of persuading an audience to yank out the hankies and have a good cry.