Terry, Dame Ellen Alicia

Terry, Dame Ellen Alicia,

1848–1928, English actress. Of a prominent theatrical family, she made her debut at nine as Mamillius in Charles Kean's production of The Winter's Tale. She played juvenile roles until her unsuccessful marriage, at 16, to G. F. WattsWatts, George Frederic,
1817–1904, English painter and sculptor. He studied at the Royal Academy and in Italy, where he developed an enthusiasm for Renaissance painting and Greek sculpture that greatly influenced his work.
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, the painter. She retired from the stage for six years, during which time she had two children, Edith Craig and Edward Gordon CraigCraig, Edward Gordon,
1872–1966, English scene designer, producer, and actor. The son of Ellen Terry, Gordon Craig began acting with Henry Irving's Lyceum company (1885–97).
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, by E. W. Godwin. In 1878 she joined Sir Henry IrvingIrving, Sir Henry,
1838–1905, English actor and theatrical manager, originally named John Henry Brodribb. He made his debut in 1856 and achieved fame in 1871 with his portrayal of Mathias in Leopold Lewis's The Bells, a role he often repeated.
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 at the Lyceum Theatre as his leading lady. With him she toured the United States, later under the management of Charles FrohmanFrohman, Charles
, 1860–1915, American theatrical manager and producer, b. Sandusky, Ohio. Starting his career as a box-office clerk in Brooklyn, N.Y., Frohman became a successful producer with Bronson Howard's Shenandoah (1889).
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. After 1902 she left Irving for an unsuccessful stint as manager of the Imperial Theatre, where her son, Edward, designed the sets. She also lectured on Shakespeare in England and in the United States. An actress of great beauty, she invested her verse speaking with spontaneity in such roles as Portia, Olivia, and especially Beatrice. In 1925 she was made Dame of the British Empire.


See her memoirs, ed. by E. Craig and C. St. John (1908, repr. 1969); her correspondence with G. B. Shaw, ed. by C. St. John (1931, repr. 1949); biographies by E. G. Craig (1932), R. Manvell (1968), C. Fecher (1971), and N. Auerbach (1989); study by M. Holroyd (2009).

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