Edith Meiser

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Biography

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Born

Detroit, Michigan

Died

9/26/1993

Birth Name

Gender

Female

Biography:

Legendary detective Sherlock Holmes owes much of his enduring popularity to writer and actress Edith Meiser, who worked tirelessly to bring adaptations of Holmes stories to radio in the 1930s, and almost singlehandedly spearheaded the American public's interest in Holmes which continues to this day.

After graduating from Vassar, Meiser took to Broadway and made her stage debut in 1923. Among her numerous Broadway credits were three runs in the annual "Garrick Gaeties" revue that spoofed the most popular theatrical shows of the day. Meiser also acted in films, on TV (including appearances on I Love Lucy) and radio, appearing opposite the Marx Brothers.

But her passion was always Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's great detective. A fan of Holmes from age eleven, Meiser began lobbying the networks in the 1930s to air a series based on the Sherlock Holmes stories. But American broadcasters were reluctant, fearing that the cerebral Holmes mysteries would not play well with American audiences. By gaining sponsor support, Meiser won the doubters over, and Sherlock Holmes would remain on the air in one incarnation or another for decades to come. Meiser's adaptations and original stories were praised by Conan Doyle's family, and she steadfastly refused to add violence and sex to the stories to get bigger audiences. The sensibilities of the characters and the Victorian setting were just as they had been in the original stories.

Meiser became a celebrated figure among Sherlockians, and became an honorary member of the Baker Street Irregulars, the Sherlock Holmes fan society. Though her passing at age 95 in 1993 did not draw wide attention, her legacy will not be forgotten, as long as new stories continue to be written and new fans continue to be entertained by Sherlock Holmes.