Beautiful portraits of actress Ellen Terry born On This Day in 1847.

Ellen Terry

Dame Alice Ellen Terry,

known professionally as Ellen Terry,

was an English actress who became the leading Shakespearean actress in Britain. She was born on 27th February 1847.

Ellen Terry
image credit: Getty Center [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
From Wikipedia: Born into a family of actors, Terry began performing as a child, acting in Shakespeare plays in London, and toured throughout the British provinces in her teens. At 16 she married the 46-year-old artist George Frederic Watts, but they separated within a year. She soon returned to the stage but began a relationship with the architect Edward William Godwin and retired from the stage for six years. She resumed acting in 1874 and was immediately acclaimed for her portrayal of roles in Shakespeare and other classics.

Ellen Terry
image credit: John Singer Sargent [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1878 she joined Henry Irving’s company as his leading lady, and for more than the next two decades she was considered the leading Shakespearean and comic actress in Britain. Two of her most famous roles were Portia in The Merchant of Venice and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. She and Irving also toured with great success in America and Britain.

Ellen Terry
image credit: George W. Baldry [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Ellen Terry
image credit: See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In 1903 Terry took over management of London’s Imperial Theatre, focusing on the plays of George Bernard Shaw and Henrik Ibsen. The venture was a financial failure, and Terry turned to touring and lecturing. She continued to find success on stage until 1920, while also appearing in films from 1916 to 1922. Her career lasted nearly seven decades.

Ellen Terry costues
image credit:By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Ellen Terry Costumes Uploaded by tm) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
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and

Book of the Day at http://www.spurwing-ebooks.com/

#OnThisDay in 1934 Maggie Smith was born.

happy birthday

Margaret Natalie Smith

was born in Ilford, Essex on 28 December 1934.

Now, eighty three years later, Maggie Smith is one of Britain’s most well known actors.

Appearing in over fifty films, innumerable TV productions and countless stage performances, Dame Maggie Smith has dominated British drama for six decades.

Maggie Smith first appeared on stage in 1952

in an Oxford Playhouse production of  Twelfth Night. Her first TV role in 1955 was an episode of the BBC Sunday Night Theatre and her first film role was as a party guest in Child in the House in 1956.

Fast forward and Maggie Smith’s most recent stage performance was in 2007:

The Lady from Dubuque by Edward Albee. Her most recent TV was Downton Abbey (2010 – 2015) as Lady Crawley and The Lady in The Van (2015) was her most recent film.

I enjoyed Maggie Smith’s Oscar winning performance in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie in 1969.

By then Maggie Smith was a well established stage, TV and film actress with a formidable reputation.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie was a fantastic film with a brilliant script based on the novel by Muriel Spark. Maggie Smith played the role brilliantly and the novel is still worth reading.

A few quotes:

For those who like that sort of thing,” said Miss Brodie in her best Edinburgh voice, “That is the sort of thing they like.

It is well, when in difficulties, to say never a word, neither black nor white. Speech is silver but silence is golden.

These years are still the years of my prime. It is important to recognise the years of one’s prime, always remember that.

I was about to start teacher training when I read The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and saw Maggie Smith in the film. This quote stayed with me during training and throughout my career.

To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil’s soul.

Maggie Smith continues to perform.

A TV documentary Nothing Like a Dame is in post-production. And Sherlock Gnomes, an animated film in which Maggie Smith is the voice of Lady Bluebury, the leader of the blue gnomes and Gnomeo’s widowed mother, is scheduled for release in 2018.

Happy Birthday Dame Maggie Smith!

happy birthday
image credit: https://pixabay.com/en/birthday-background-happy-937520/

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You might also like to read Celebrate the birth of Hermione Gingold #OnThisDay in 1897

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The longest running British stage play opened in London #OnThisDay in 1952.

mousetrap

The Mousetrap is a murder mystery play by Agatha Christie.

The Mousetrap opened in London’s West End on 25th November 1952 and has been running continuously since then.

It’s the longest running West End show with over 26,000 performances.

Agatha Christie herself did not expect The Mousetrap to run for such a long time.

In her autobiography, Christie reports a conversation that she had with Peter Saunders, the theatre impresario and producer of the show. Saunders thought the show would run for about fourteen months. To which Christie replied, “It won’t run that long. Eight months perhaps. Yes, I think eight months.”

The original West End cast included Richard Attenborough as Detective Sergeant Trotter and his wife Sheila Sim as Mollie Ralston. They took a 10% profit-participation in the production, which was paid for out of their combined weekly salary.

The murderer’s identity is divulged near the end of the play in a twist ending. By tradition, at the end of each performance, audiences are asked not to reveal the identity of the killer to anyone outside the theatre, to ensure that the end of the play is not spoilt for future audiences.

We went to see the show years ago but I can’t remember what happened in the end, so I can’t tell you anyway!

Thanks for reading  my blog today.

You might also enjoy Stately Homes in Fiction and Films on  Cabbage and Semolina Blog.

Please check out my Book of the Day.

Hope you have a great day! 🙂