Olson Visual creates costume and prop display and graphics for Florence Foster Jenkins


The film Florence Foster Jenkins stars the iconic Meryl Streep and tells the story of a wealthy philanthropist for a desire to be a singer. She had no talent but was a prominent socialite in the New York art scene in the early 1900s. But who is the real-life person?

Jenkins was born in Wilkes-Barre, Penn. She took piano until she was 15 and then married when she was 30 years to Dr. Frank Jenkins. The pair were separated only after 3 years and it was thought this is who she had gotten syphilis from.

She moved to the big apple and started using her inheritance to program music recitals for women. During this time she fell for St. Clair Bayfield, a British actor. They became an item.

Jenkins still dreamed of being a singer but unfortunately, she had no talent. She was a member of the musical club, Verdi. They would hear her sing and cheered her on with great enthusiasm but this was only because of her large donations.

Her extravagant costumes with her shrilling voice made a spectacle. On October twenty-fourth in 1944, she performed at the world famous Carnegie Hall. This was open to the public and included the critics. The next morning the horrible reviews flooded the newspapers. Jenkins didn’t care as some would have thought. She remarked, “People may say I can’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.”

 

 

 

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