Anna Leonowens is Truly Immortal
Posted by: Musicals54 05:22 pm EDT 06/19/24

A discussion of the many iterations of the story of Anna and the King of Siam was mentioned in a thread below. The real story is more incredible than any fiction. Here it is in brief.
Anna Leonowens 1832?-1915 essentially invented herself. Widowed she and her son Louis went to Siam to be a teacher in the court of the King of Siam during the 1860s. She may have elevated her late husband into the officer corp and elevated his name which was probably Leon Owens. There is some good evidence that she may have been of mixed race but successfully passed as white.

Anna and Louis arrive in Siam. e the Crown Price and Louis
the Crown Price and Louis become fast friends.
Anna serves until after the death of the King.
Anna pens a memoir of her time in Siam.
Margaret Landon pens a novel based on the memoir “Anna and the King of Siam.”
A film of “Anna and the King of Siam” is released
The film is the basis of the R&H musical “The King and I”
The musical is filmed starring Deborah Kerr, Yul Brynner and Marni Nixon.
The musical is often revived on Broadway is a both a classic and a masterpiece.
The story become a TV series.
The musical is made into an animated feature showing you can’t animate a corpse.
Paramount announces a remake of the musical with more attention to diversity etc. It would be great if Anna has to deal with passing if only to herself.

After Siam, Anna teaches in NYC
On the advice of Oscar Wilde (yes that OW), she establishes a college of art in Halifax, NS on the water front in 1887 in honour of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee.
The college is now NSCAD University and her portrait (by a former student) is in the main administration Building. Go to the website to see her portrait

The college is now 137 years old.

Anna attends Victoria’s diamond jubilee. There she is reunited with her son and the King. Though the King chides her for the “poetic license” in her memoir, the three have a successful reunion.

Louis receives the teak monopoly from his childhood friend, the King. The Louis Leonowens Trading Company is a multi-billion dollar company to this day.

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