Madge Kendal

woman and actor

Died aged 87

Dame Madge Kendal, DBE (born Margaret Shafto Robertson; 15 March 1848 – 14 September 1935) was an English actress of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, best known for her roles in Shakespeare and English comedies. Together with her husband, W. H. Kendal (né William Hunter Grimston), she became an important theatre manager. Madge Kendal came from a theatrical family. She was born in Grimsby in Lincolnshire, where her father ran a chain of theatres. She began to act as a small child and made her London debut at the age of four. As a teenager she appeared with Ellen and Kate Terry in Bath, and played Shakespeare's Ophelia and Desdemona in the West End. Under the management of J. B. Buckstone, she joined the company of the Haymarket Theatre in London in 1869, when she was 21. While in the company she met and married the actor W. H. Kendal. After their marriage, in August 1869, the two made it a rule to appear in the same productions, and became known to the public as "The Kendals". They appeared together in new plays by such dramatists as W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Pinero, and from time to time in classics by Shakespeare, Sheridan and others. After a series of generally successful appearances in London and on tour in Britain, the Kendals joined the actor John Hare in running the St James's Theatre between 1879 and 1888, transforming the fortunes of their theatre, previously known for financial failure. In the late 1880s and early 1890s the Kendals spent much of their time in the US, touring more than 40 cities, and making a considerable amount of money. After returning to acting in Britain for more than a further decade, they retired in 1908 from their long careers on the stage. Madge Kendal was generally considered a finer actor than her husband, and was particularly known for her performances in comic parts. Critical opinion was more divided about her performances in serious roles; some critics regarded her naturalistic acting as sensitive, while others found it cold. The Kendals were part of a movement to make British theatre more socially respectable, and she became known as "the matron of the English theatre". She was active in charitable causes but became estranged from her four surviving children later in life. Kendal outlived her husband and died in retirement at her home in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire, at the age of 87.

Wikidata Wikipedia

Commemorated on 1 plaque

Dame Madge Kendal actress 1848-1935 lived here 1896-1920

White Lodge Hotel, Filey, United Kingdom where they lived (1896-1920)