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Kate Chase, the beautiful, charismatic daughter of Abraham Lincoln’s treasury secretary, Salmon P. Chase, was the undisputed “Belle of Washington” during the Civil War. A brilliant conversationalist, shrewd political strategist, and “People Magazine” personality a century before People was first published, her goal was to make her widowed father president of the United States and herself his first lady. To that end she set up a rival salon “court” against Mary Lincoln and married one of the richest men in America, the “boy governor” of Rhode Island, in the social event of the Civil War. A fashion plate eagerly followed by readers of the society pages, she adorned herself in the most regal Parisian gowns. But when William Sprague turned out to be less of a prince as a husband, and an economic depression ended his fortune, she found comfort in the arms of a powerful married senator, New York’s Roscoe Conkling. The ensuing sex scandal ended her virtual royalty; she became a social outcast and died in poverty, yet in her final years found both greater authenticity and an inner peace that had always eluded her.Visit John Oller's website.
My biography, American Queen: The Rise and Fall of Kate Chase Sprague—Civil War ‘Belle of the North’ and Gilded Age Woman of Scandal, may be riper for a television mini-series (shades of Downton Abbey) than a feature length film. Either way, here are my casting choices for the four main, real-life characters, and some other ideas:
Kate Chase -- The most obvious candidates here would be Anne Hathaway, Kate Beckinsale or Keira Knightley. And I would be thrilled with any of them. But for the “Scarlett O’Hara of the North,” I would do what David O. Selznick did in casting the lead in Gone with the Wind:--go for someone relatively unknown. And so my vote here goes to...[read on]
My Book, The Movie: American Queen.