George Michael Fuller Golden – 1868 to 1912 – Vaudeville, Fighter, Union Activist

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Updated 2015.04.10

George Michael Fuller Golden (1868-1912) was born as George Michael Fuller in 1868 at (Bay City) Michigan to William and Marguerette (Maragaret) Fuller. He died in 1912 in California of tuberculosis.

Vaudeville was the center piece of his career.

Poster of George Fuller Golden (1868 - February 17, 1912) advertising A High-Toned Burglar (1900)
Poster of George Fuller Golden (1868 – February 17, 1912) advertising A High-Toned Burglar (1900)

There is no history that I know of as to why the name ‘Golden’ was chosen as George’s stagename … although there was another incredibly popular vaudeville performer at the time named ‘Billy Golden‘; Golden was also his stage name. Regardless, George kept the ‘Golden’ name and always used it except when legal matters arose which required his birth name, such as his marriage (see below). His children were all given the surname of ‘Golden’ and you will find him in census records as ‘Golden’.

His occupation was as a vaudeville entertainer and he would later play a prominent role in forming a union known as the White Rats to represent vaudeville performer interests.  Entertainers often had to pay kickbacks to get work. An accomplishment of the White Rats was elimination of the kickback system; there were seven cofounders of the union but George Golden gets primary credit.

An autobiographical book was written by George in 1909 about his work to form the White Rats, My Lady Vaudeville and her White Rats. The book is available as a Google book.

George was also known for boxing, and is described in some bios as a “prize fighter”.

George would marry Ada Maxwell (b1872 London, England) in 1894 at North Brixton Christ Church, London, England. George’s father, William Orlando Fuller, attended the wedding and was a witness on their marriage certificate.

George Michael Fuller Golden marriage certificateTogether they had four children: Olive Fuller Golden, Ruth Fuller Golden, Mignonne Fuller Golden, and a son George H. Golden. It is not known if George Jr lived past childhood, as biographies do not even mention him. George Jr appears in the 1910 Queens Ward 2, Queens, New York census as age 2.

The sisters went on to all have careers in the film industry.

George’s daughter Olive Fuller Golden would have an exceptional career with over 50 movies to her credit.

Golden - George Michael Fuller - Harvard_Theatre_Collection
Harvard Theatre Collection – George Fuller Golden TCS 1.458 – cropped” by Photographer unidentified – TCS 1.458, Harvard Theatre Collection, Harvard University. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

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Misidentified photos.

George Michael Fuller
circa 1890 – This photo has been misidentified by the NY Public Library.

ERRATA – Several photos available from the New York Public Library archive that are supposedly of George Michael Fuller Golden are in error as to their identification. One of those is shown to the left. Another is shown below.

These photos were really of James J. Corbett. Other photos with Corbett’s name imprinted upon them have been found.

James ‘Jim’ Corbett was a partner with George Michael Fuller Golden in business and in forming the first actors union.

Since this supposed photo of George Michael Fuller Golden can be found several places please make a note for your records.

George Michael Fuller Golden
Billy Rose Theatre Collection, New York Public Library James J Corbett and not George Michael Fuller Golden.

You are welcome to add to or to correct this story by contacting: Bill Golden, Norfolk1956@gmail.com

BTW – I look forward to sharing your stories, photos and in-search-of quests. Contact me at the email address above.

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