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Images courtesy of Archives & Special Collections, University of Pittsburgh Library System
Soldiers and Sailors
Famous People Who Stayed At The WPU
In the old Schenley Hotel, now the William Pitt Student Union: “Memories included legends of national trendsetters such as Diamond Jim Brady and Lillian Russell, who had lived or partied there; visits from every president from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower; and the death, on April 21st, 1924, of world-renowned Italian stage actress Eleonora Duse, the most famous person ever to die in Pittsburgh (Andy Warhol may be buried in Pittsburgh, but he expired in New York).
- Pittsburgh: A New Portrait by Franklin Toker
Eleonora Duse was an Italian actress and contemporary of Sarah Bernhardt, and was famous around the world. Famously, playwrights Anton Chekhov and George Bernard Shaw actually prefered Duse’s work to Bernhardt's, as it was more naturalistic. She gave her final performance at the Syria Mosque (now a UMPC parking lot) in Oakland. She had pneumonia at the time which she contracted after being locked out of the Syria Mosque’s stage door for several hours on a rainy day. Her pneumonia got so bad that she cancelled the rest of her engagements on her tour of the United States and died a few days later in the Hotel Schenley (which is now the Pitt Student Union).