The Muse of Somewhere in Time

The movie Somewhere in Time, starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves, is about a depressed playwright named Richard Collier who takes an impromptu vacation in the early 1980s and decides to stay at an older hotel. While there, he sees a photograph of a beautiful actress named Elise McKenna and falls in love with it, only to learn the photo was taken in 1912.

Richard sees Elise for the first time


Richard is nothing if not determined and he decides to time travel to meet her. It sounds cheesy and the critics ripped it when it was released, but I really like the movie. Anyway, the character of Elise McKenna was supposedly based on the real life Broadway actress Maude Adams (Nov 11, 1872 – Jul 17, 1953).

Turn of the century actress Maude Adams (1872 – 1953)


Maude Adams


Few people have heard of Maude Adams today, but in her day, she was quite famous. She began acting as a small child in the 1880s, and by the 1900s, she was a real star. Even Alphonse Mucha painted her, as Joan of Arc!

As far as I’ve been able to find out, Maude never worked in film and was strictly a stage actress.

Adams, circa 1901. Publicity photo for Quality Street


Maude Adams lived until 1953 but officially retired from acting in 1918, after contracting the Spanish flu.