Lethe Tatge

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Lethe Tatge Mormon performer

Lethe Belle Coleman Tatge was an actress, public reader, lecturer, and performer. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Tatge was born on December 26, 1893, to Henry T. and Emily Springer Coleman. She was one of eleven children. She was reared in Midway, Utah. Her parents were in local plays and they permitted her to join them.

When the Chautauqua lecture series came to town, Tatge was given a speaking part on the program; she was in eighth grade at the time. The featured speaker, Julius Caesar Naphe, noticed her talent and promised her that she would be part of Chautauqua one day. At age seventeen, she was invited to join Chautauqua. Her assignment was to greet the audience and introduce performers. Once while traveling through Canada, one of the performers—a lecturer—was suddenly ill and had to be hospitalized. Tatge was instructed to explain the situation to the audience. After praying to know what to do, she broke the news to the audience and then delivered a message herself. The audience applauded her and her career as a lecturer began. She lectured for the International Chautauqua Bureau of Calgary, Canada; the Ellison-White Bureau of Portland, Oregon; the Swarthmore Bureau of Swarthmore, Pennsylvania; and the Associated Bureau of Topeka, Kansas. She was a protégé of Maud May Babcock, actress and patron of the arts for the state of Utah, and traveled the world with her where she saw world wonders such as the Great Wall of China and the Pyramids.

During 1917 Tatge gave programs with LDS Church president Heber J. Grant for the Liberty Bond drives.

She began teaching Sunday School when she was 14 years. She taught Sunday School to ages 17 to 24 for 31 years. She served many years as a drama coach and was president of the Wasatch chapters of the Daughters of the Utah Pioneers for six years. As president of the DUP, she oversaw the publication of How Beautiful Upon the Mountains, a history of Wasatch County.

As an actress, she was known especially for her roles in The Mailbox (1977), Windows of Heaven (1963), and ‘Til Death Do Us Part (1960). She appeared in fourteen movies produced by The Church of Jesus Christ.

Tatge and her husband, Francis C. Tatge, returned to Midway to take care of her ailing parents. Her father died in 1952 and her mother in 1961. Her father left her the family home, and she lived there the rest of her life. Children loved to visit her there and listen to her stories. She loved to invite people to her home and to show them her home. The home’s interiors were featured in The Mailbox.

She is the recipient of numerous awards, including Who’s Who of the World; Outstanding Senior Citizen of Utah; Who’s Who of American Women; and International Who’s Who of Intellectuals.

She married Francis C. Tatge in 1934. He was a western states representative for Hart, Schaffner, and Marx. They lived in Chicago for most of their marriage. He passed away in 1954. They had no children.

Tatge died on February 1, 1986.