By Barbara Garrick
Additional Information - 2015.
From research it appears that Dressler both added to her years and subtracted from them.
Toronto author, Betty Lee in MARIE DRESSLER THE UNLIKELIEST STAR tells that when Dressler was fourteen years of age, she wrote a letter to Robert Wallace of the Nevada Stock Company explaining that she was eighteen years of age thus adding four years to her life and made of list of all her stage appearances. (Footnote 1)
To cite Lee: " Over the years, Marie Dressler claimed to have been born in 1869 and 1870; her death certificate listed 1871. But the records of St. Peter's Anglican Church in Cobourg show that... she was born on November 9, 1868 and baptized on June 27 the following year. The records show that her original name was Leila Marie Koerber and that her parents were Annie Henderson and Alexander Rudolph Koerber, a "professor of Music."
According to Church records, deaths and births of members of the congregation have been listed since 1818 so Dressler's data there seems very authentic.
Mathew Kennedy in MARIE DRESSLER (Footnote 2) writes :
Leila Koerber's conflicting birthdates range from 1860 to 1873. Most sources list 1869 , but her baptismal record and her 1894 marriage certificate indicate 1868. Her death certificate indicates 1871. The most reliable date is 1868, since it was recorded close to her birth . Leila shaved one or more years off her age in later life.
I can personally attest that Matthew Kennedy came to Cobourg from California in about 1998 and met with members of the Marie Dressler Foundation at the refurbished Dressler House.
The sign outside Dressler House in Cobourg cites her birthdate as November 9, 1868.
1. Betty Lee. Marie Dressler the Unlikeliest Star; the University Press of Kentucky, 1997.
2. Matthew Kennedy. Marie Dressler a Biography; with a listing of major stage performances, a filmography and a discography.
Mcfarland and Company, Inc., publishers, North Carolina. 1999.