FANNY CAVENDISH, the grande dame of the Cavendish acting clan and the mother to Julie and Anthony, is a legendary actress in her seventy-second year. Her greatest desires, right up to the time of her death, are to see her children, her grandchildren, and her great-grandchild be successful in the legitimate theatre.
JULIE CAVENDISH, the daughter of Fanny and sister of Anthony, is the most currently active of the Cavendish family in the theatre. She at one point decides to give up her stardom to marry an old flame and millionaire businessman Gilbert Marshall and move with him to South America, but the draw of the footlights is too strong and she never carries through with this resolve.
ANTHONY CAVENDISH, son of Fanny and brother of Julie, the member of the current Cavendish family with the most acting “gift,” has squandered it by giving into the lure of Hollywood. He is constantly in trouble, either with women he has seduced and then left or with the press hounding him about such stories.
GWEN, Julie’s daughter, is a third generation Cavendish and a promising young ingenue. However, she is torn between the stage and acting and her love for Perry Stewart. She finally marries and bears the fourth generation, Aubrey, named for his great-grandfather.
HERBERT DEAN, Fanny Cavindish’s brother, has faded from the spotlight as an actor and now spends most of his time trying to find a vehicle to showcase the diminishing talents of his wife, Kitty.
KITTY DEAN, Herbert’s wife, was a somewhat successful actor in her youth, but, now that middle age has set in heavily, she is no longer in demand and is currently trying to find a role in vaudeville.
OSCAR WOLFE, a theatrical manager and producer, spends much time with the Cavendish family, orchestrating their affairs.
GILBERT MARSHALL, a successful international businessman, returns to New York to persuade Julie to leave her hectic life and marry him. Although his allure is strong at points, he is never quite successful in these efforts, and never quite acceptable as a suitor of Fanny’s child.
PERRY STEWART, a society scion, who is interested in many things besides the theatre, marries Gwen—but never convinces her to leave the stage.