Eleonora Duse (1858 -1924) was an Italian actress, often known simply as Duse. She is regarded as one of the greatest actresses of all time, noted for her total assumption of the roles she portrayed.
Both her father and her grandfather were actors, and she joined the troupe at age four. Due to poverty, she initially worked continually, traveling from city to city with whichever troupe her family was currently engaged.
Eleonora was introverted and private, rarely giving interviews. She found public appearances to be a distraction, and once remarked to a journalist that away from the stage, “I do not exist”.