Maude Fealy was born Maude Hawke in Memphis, Tennessee on 3rd March, 1881. She was the daughter of actress Margaret Fealy. From an early age, Maude would occasionally appear with her mother on stage.
At the age of fourteen, she attracted the attention of an prominent theatre producer, who was so impressed at her portrayal of Juliet that he signed her to a five year contract. His unfortunate death soon after cancelled that contract however, whereupon she secured a role in a production of “Quo Vadis” at the New York. Her performance in that role attracted the attention of celebrated actor/playwight William Gillette who invited her, still only sixteen years of age, to become his leading lady.
Maude played a leading role in a production of “Sherlock Holmes”. After a short tour of the eastern USA the production arrived in London, where it opened in September 1901 and proved a considerable success with a run of over 200 performances. After two seasons with Gillette, Maude returned to the USA, where she would play in Denver and New York.