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Vera Neville, English actress and mother-in-law of the actress and singer, Vanessa Lee

June 20, 2013

Vera Neville (née Vera Blanche Neville Snepp, 1888-1953), English actress
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1908)

Vera Neville was the daughter of Alfred Neville Snepp (1857-1935), an electrician and later a cigarette manufacturer, and his wife Laura Kate (née Browne, 1861-1941) who were married at All Souls Church, Marylebone, London, on 1 December 1887. Her paternal grandfather was the Rev. Edward Snepp (1827-1899), sometime vicar of St. Paul’s Church, Kings Cross, Halifax, Yorkshire.

In 1909 Vera Neville was married to ‘Tommy’ Graves (Henry Algernon Claude Graves, 1877-1963), who became 7th Baron Graves of Gravesend upon the death of his cousin in 1937. Their son was the actor Peter Graves (1911-1994) whose wife was the actress and singer, Vanessa Lee (1920-1992). Following Miss Neville’s divorce in 1922 from Graves she married in the same year Philip Ernest Hill (1873-1944), the successful property developer and financier, from whom she was divorced in 1933.

The details of Miss Neville’s introduction to the theatre are as yet unknown apart from the fact that one of her earliest engagements was as understudy to Gabrielle Ray. Her first substantial part appears to have been as Perlie in Grossmith and Laurillard’s production of Victor Herbert’s musical play The Only Girl, which opened at the Apollo Theatre, London, on 25 September 1915. She was next seen in Mr Manhattan, a musical play which was produced at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 30 March 1916; and then in the comedy with music Houp La! (St. Martin’s Theatre, London, 23 November 1916), starring Nat. D. Ayer and Gertie Millar. Her next engagement was in the ‘War Economy Revue’ £150 (Ambassadors’ Theatre, London, 30 April 1917); and then finally in A Certain Liveliness (St. Martin’s, 17 February 1919), a play by Basil Macdonald Hastings.

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