Alexander Pantages

Posted on Feb 24, 2012 in Entertainers, Other Communities | 0 comments


Alexander was born in 1867 in Andros, Greece. He ran away from home at the age of nine while with his father on a business trip in Cairo, Egypt. He then went to sea and spent the next two years working on merchant ships all over the world. Although he left Greece at a tender age he never forgot his home country and seems to have been conscious of his ethnic identity. Thus, he changed his name to Alexander after hearing about Alexander the Great.
He came to Skagway in 1897 and worked for Ma Pullen as a waiter. He later used Klondike Kate for money and ran the Orpheum in Dawson. In 1902, Pantages left Dawson and moved to Seattle, Washington, where he opened the Crystal Theater, a short-form vaudeville and motion picture house of his own. By 1920, he owned more than 30 vaudeville theatres and controlled, through management contracts, perhaps 60 more. In 1929 he was accused of raping a 17-year old woman. Pantages was tried, convicted and sentenced to 50 years in prison, despite his claim that he was “set up by Joseph Kennedy.” (Kennedy had offered to buy his theaters in 1927 but Pantages refused.) He was later acquitted in the appeal trial, after his lawyers portrayed the victim as a woman of low morals.
Pantages died on February 17, 1936 and was interred in the Great Mausoleum, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.

Wikipedia; Highjinks, page 156

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