Posts Tagged ‘Rita Martin (photographer)’

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Lily Elsie: a photograph by Rita Martin

August 16, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English actress and singer and star of musical comedy
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1915-1917)

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Amy Webster, who appeared in the first English production of The Merry Widow at Daly’s Theatre, London, and was later sent to America

June 21, 2014

Amy Webster (active 1900-1908), English actress/showgirl, at about the time of her appearance as Jou-Jou during the long run of the first English production of The Merry Widow, which was produced at Daly’s Theatre, London, on 8 June 1907 and closed on 31 July 1909. During that time Jou-Jou was at various times also played by Dolly Dombey, Dorrie Keppell and Gladys Carrington.
(photo: Rita Martin, London, probably 1908)

Amy (sometime Aimee) Webster was born in London about 1886, the daughter of Frederick Webster, about whom nothing is at present known. She is thought to have made her first professional appearance as an extra in The Price of Peace, the ‘Drama of Modern Life’ produced at Drury Lane Theatre on 20 September 1900. She remained at Drury Lane until early 1903, a period during which she was seen in two more dramas and also in two pantomimes, Blue Beard and Mother Goose (26 December 1901 and 26 December 1902 receptively). She then progressed to adult roles, as Mary Macclesfield in The Little Cherub (Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 31 January 1906) and its revised edition entitled The Girl on the Stage (same theatre, 5 May 1906) in which her part was renamed Gertie Macclesfield. Her last appearances were in The Merry Widow, as above.
Amy Webster was married for the first time on 15 March 1906 at Fulham Register Office to Owain Edward Whitehead Greaves (1882-1941); their wedding was kept secret owing to his position in the Royal Horse Guards. In January 1907 he was posted to India and between August that year and March 1908 she is said to have committed adultery with Eric Loder (who in 1912 married Gabrielle Ray) and George Jervis Wood (who in 1909 married Rosa, Countess von Lónyay de Nagy-Lónya und Vásáros-Namény). When Greaves sued his wife for divorce in 1909, she and Wood denied any wrongdoing while Loder failed to appear or file an answer. Rufus Isaacs represented Greaves; Sir Edward Carson represented Wood. (The Times, London, 27 March 1909)

In 1912 Mrs Greaves gave birth to a daughter, Josephine, whose father was George Maria Joseph Alphonsus Grisewood (1891-1916) of the Grenadier Guards. He served with the Expeditionary Force in France from February 1915 and the couple were married in Marylebone while he was home on leave early in 1916. He died at the front near Merville on 27 March 1916 of pneumonia.

According to Grisewood’s grandson, his widow was subsequently obliged to sever her connection with both the Grisewood family and her daughter. In 1919 she was given a one-way ticket to America and duly arrived at the Port of New York aboard the SS Royal George on 23 February that year. Nothing is known of her life after that date.

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Sheila Hayes, London, 1915

September 12, 2013

Sheila Hayes (fl. early 20th Century), English actress
(photo: Rita Martin, London, 1915)

‘MISS SHEILA HAYES Another of the latest talented recruits to the film. Miss Sheila Hayes will be remembered as the beautiful Plum Blossom in that quaint and amusing Chinese play, The Yellow Jacket, which was produced at the Duke of York’s Theatre about two years ago. Miss Hayes has now gone abroad to study cinema acting.’
(The Sketch, London, Saturday, 15 December 1915, p. 333)

Although Sheila Hayes appeared in several London productions between 1911 and 1917, including the small part of Ko-Matsu in The Mousmé (Shaftesbury Theatre, 9 September 1911), it is for her playing Moy Fah Loy in The Yellow Jacket (Duke of York’s Theatre, 27 March 1913) that she is chiefly remembered. In spite of The Sketch‘s report (quoted above), no trace of her going abroad in 1915/1916 can be found. She did, however, go to America about 1919 where she appeared at the Garrick Theatre, New York, between August 1920 and April 1922 in the comedy, Enter Madame. Miss Hayes returned briefly to England before returning to America where in November 1922 she was in the cast of Charles Dillingham’s melodrama, Bull Dog Drummond at the National Theatre, Washington, with H.B. Warner in the lead. She remained in the United States until 1936, when she returned to England.

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Dolly Dombey

August 3, 2013

Dolly Dombey (1887-1967), English musical comedy actress/chorus girl
(photo: Rita Martin, London, circa 1909)

Dolly Dombey, whose real name was Florence Newton, was born in Lambeth, London, in 1887. In 1909 she married Fred J. Blackman (1879-1951), a former actor and theatrical producer who from 1907 to 1921 was in charge of all tours of the productions originating at Daly’s Theatre, London, including The Merry Widow and The Dollar Princess. For the next five or six years he produced various musical shows in London, including The Lady of the Rose with Phyllis Dare in the leading role (Daly’s, 1922) and Katja the Dancer (Gaiety, 1925). In 1927 the couple emigrated with their three children, Joan, Timothy and Barabra, to Australia where Blackman worked in a similar capacity for Williamson & Tait Ltd.

Miss Dombey was one of a number of bit-part actresses who were well-known to London audiences who favoured musicals during the years immediately preceding the First World War. She appeared during the runs of the following productions: The Merry Widow (Daly’s, 8 June 1907); The Dollar Princess (Daly’s, 25 September 1909); The Quaker Girl (Adelphi, 5 November 1910); The Count of Luxembourg (Daly’s, 20 May 1911); The Marriage Market (Daly’s, 17 May 1913); and a revival of A Country Girl (Daly’s, 28 October 1914). Her final appearance was as Lady Mendie in succession to Therese Mills in A Southern Maid (Daly’s, 18 May 1920).

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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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Vera Neville

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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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.