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Lennox Grey

July 29, 2013

Lennox Grey (fl. 1870s), English actress and singer
(photo: Hills & Saunders, London, circa 1875)

Lennox Grey was born Louisa Caulfield in London in 1845, the daughter of John Caulfield, a teacher of music, and his wife, Louisa, a vocalist. Her stage name derives from that of her first husband, Lieutenant Francis Lennox George Grey of H.M. 96th Regiment, who she married at the age of 17 in 1862.

‘ACTRESS IN WORKHOUSE.
‘Miss Lennox Grey, Once the Most Admired Woman on the London Stage.
‘Just as a benefit is being arranged for Emily Soldene another old time burlesque actress and a member of the famous Soldene company of other days has been found in poverty in an English workhouse [i.e. the Strand Workhouse, Edmonton, north London]. These two women are said to be the only survivors of the company which originally sang Genevieve de Brabant, which was a New York sensation of the early ’70s.
‘Miss Lennox Grey was the stage name of the old woman who has been taken out of a London workhouse, an anonymous donor having provided a weekly stipend sufficient to support her for the rest of her days. She did not take part in the original production of Offenbach’s operetta in London [at the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, 11 November 1871], but succeeded Selina Dolaro, who was compelled to retire from the cast after a few performances.
‘Miss Lennox Grey was at that time the wife of an officer in the English army. She had married him after a short stage experience and went to India to live. He deserted her and she returned to the stage in England.
‘she was for years one of the most popular burlesque artists in England and came to this country with the Soldene companies, appearing in Little Faust, Chilperic, and other works of this company’s decollete repertoire. Emily Soldene, who is now a very old woman, came to this country for the last time about twenty years ago and sang in the Bowery variety theatres in New York.
‘Miss Lennox Grey married for her second husband a classical scholar of high attainments, which did not, however, avail to prevent him from going to the poorhouse along with her. When the actress began to lose her youth there was no longer engagements for her, and she finally disappeared so completely that she was commonly supposed to be dead.
‘Yet less than forty years ago she was the most admired woman on the London stage.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 31 March 1907, Theatrical News and Gossip, p.3e)

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