An abstract, figure painter and actor, Charles Ellis was born in 1892 and studied at Ohio State University and the Art Students’ League in New York City. His art instructors included Robert Henri and John Sloan. After having been a scenic artist for the Provincetown Players, he turned to acting. He performed in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Rope” and “The Moon of Caribbees” and portrayed Eben Cabot in “Desire Under the Elms” in 1924 at the Greenwich Village Theater. Mr. Ellis acted in the 1932 revival of’ “Show Boat”, Maxwell Anderson’s “Valley Forge” in 1934 and “Key Largo” in 1939. In the 1940’s he appeared here in “The Eve of St. Mark,” "Joan of Lorraine” and “Anne of the Thousand Days.”
Around 1930, he revived his painting career and subsequently exhibited 27 works at the Montross Gallery in 1935. This body of work included still lives, portraits and landscapes.
Mr. Ellis was married to Norma Millay, sister of Edna St. Vincent Millay, and at the time of his death in 1976, they resided at Steepletop, an art colony in Austerlitz, New York.
Obituary, New York Times, March 13, 1976
Jewell, Edward Alden, "Charles Ellis Art in One-Man Show", New York Times, April 20, 1935