Born Oct. 24, 1882, in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire; died June 9,1976, in London. British actress.
Thorndike studied music in the Guildhall School and received her theatrical training at Ben Greet’s Academy. She first performed on the stage in 1904. In 1908 she performed with the companies of Miss A. E. Horniman and C. Frohman. In 1914 she performed for the first time at the Old Vic Theatre, where she often acted in succeeding years. From 1939 to 1944 she appeared with the Old Vic company in working-class towns and villages. She also toured in the USA, South Africa, France, Egypt, Germany, India, Australia, and New Zealand. Thorndike frequently appeared with her husband, the actor and director L. Casson.
Thorndike’s mastery of characterization allowed her to portray romantic heroines and everyday women with equal skill. Her roles included Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Hecuba in Euripides’ The Trojan Women, Jocasta in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Joan of Arc in G. B. Shaw’s Saint Joan, the title role in Euripides’ Medea, and Beatrice in Shelley’s The Cenci. In 1969 the Sybil Thorndike Theatre was opened in Leatherhead, Surrey.
REFERENCESDruzina, M. Sibil Torndaik. Leningrad, 1972.
Trewin, J. C. Sybil Thorndike. London, 1955.
Sprigge, E. Sybil Thorndike Casson. London, 1971.
F. M. KRYMKO