November 11 ~ First-Rate Things Intimate Portrait

"Don't let anyone persuade you that anything we do in life less than our own best, is a worthy thing. You must never compromise with your life. We know when we are doing first-rate things. When we satisfy ourselves with second-rate things, it is the beginning of a long, long death." ~ Maude Adams

Maude Adams

An inspiration with her commitment to excellence, popular stage actress Maude Adams (18721953) was born Maude Ewing Kiskadden on this day in Salt Lake City, Utah. She began acting as an infant and soon was charming audiences with her style, talent, and beauty.

She once said: "Don't be afraid of failure; be afraid of petty success."

"Maudie" to her fans, the popular leading lady toured with shows in San Francisco, New York, and Boston. A celebration of elfin innocence, she set the high acting standards for her time. Adams said, "If I have smashed the traditions, it was because I knew no traditions."

She showed great acting range as Joan of Arc and in productions of Shakespeare, but was best known for her portrayal of characters created by novelist James M. Barrie. Her definitive role as Peter Pan made her an international star.

"I had not finished the first act before the quaint character of Peter Pan had charmed me. I could feel the presence of the fairies and the indians and the pirates and the lost boys of Never-Never-Never Land," she said.

Retiring as an actress in 1918, she worked with passion behind the scenes, developing new lighting and color film techniques and teaching college drama for over a dozen years. "Genius is the talent for seeing things straight," she said.

More Film-Making Quotations

Make everything with excellence.