several years after the fire, Washington, D.C.
native Esther Boggs (1886-1977), in 1903 a sixteen
year old dancer, seems to have cultivated newspaper
attention with references to her psychological
trauma as an aerial dancer at the Iroquois. In a
newspaper interview, manager and founder of the
Grigolatis aerial troop, Friedrich Zschiegner,
stated there was only one American girl in his
ballet company. I’ve wondered if he referred to
Iroquois fatality, Connecticut-born Nellie Reed, who
grew up in Europe. Perhaps he instead referred to
Esther J. Boggs. Or not. Despite much searching, the
only connection I have found between Esther and
aerial ballet is that she appeared in three Klaw &
Erlanger productions that featured the Grigolatis.
Prior to Mr. Bluebeard, Esther appeared in
Sleeping Beauty, Mother Goose and
Pearl of the Pumpkin. After the fire she made a
career in vaudeville.
In 1907 Esther married Danish actor and sometime
song lyricist, Thomas Hoier (1877-1951) with whom
she sometimes appeared in comedy skits. Her only
known film role was under her married name as the
character Josine Walker in a 1915 blockbuster silent
film based on a Émile Zola novel, Destruction,
with Theda Bara as the original vampy vampire and
Warner Orland (Charlie Chan) in the starring roles.
Esther retired by 1920 but her
husband continued to perform in character roles on
Broadway and in serial radio dramas until his death
in 1951. Thomas and Esther shared a home with
Thomas’s mother (Dora Hoier) in Chicago until the birth of their daughter
in 1909 and later moved to New York. They are buried
in the Actor’s Fund site in Westchester, NY.
Not sure why Wade Hampton Durand
is buried with Thomas and Esther. He was a composer,
pianist and conductor associated with Tin Pan Alley