David Belasco

Legit Icons of the Century

Four short weeks before Variety first rolled off the presses on Dec. 16, 1905, Belasco donned three hats on “The Girl of the Golden West” as writer, director and producer. His earlier “Madama Butterfly” and “Girl,” are best remembered for their opera translations, by Giacomo Puccini.

Known for his strict, if not gimmicky, reliance on realistic stagings, Belasco produced nearly 100 shows on Broadway before his death in 1931.

The flamboyant showman, who named no fewer than two Broadway houses after himself, staged almost as many temper tantrums as plays to get what he wanted.

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