and Present - A set of 25 cigarette cards depicting Theatre Stars of
the Day - Issued by John Player & Sons in 1916
Sir Henry Irving
The most distinguished actor of the late Victorian
Era, made his first London appearance in 1866,
and from that date to his death in 1905,
his career was a series of triumphs, among which may be mentioned
his impersonations of "Shylock" in "The Merchant
of Venice," and "Matthias" in "The Bells."
His first-night performances at the Lyceum
were assemblies of the most representative people in the Arts,
the professions and society. He had a most winning and charming
personality, and his memory is still fragrant with the playgoing
public, of whom he was fond of describing himself (in many
a "before the curtain" speech) as "the grateful,
loving, and obedient servant."
Sir Squire Bancroft
The veteran actor-manager, first appeared on
the stage in Birmingham in 1861.
He was for 20 years manager of the Prince
of Wales and Haymarket
Theatres, and in his time has appeared at the leading provincial
theatres with all the prominent "stars" of the
stage. In 1867 he
married Miss Marie Wilton, whose professional career was practically
identical with his own. Retiring from management in 1885,
he has only acted occasionally since: but his noble efforts
by giving "Readings" on behalf of hospitals throughout
the country resulted in the sum of £20,000 being raised.
His knighthood was conferred on him by Queen Victoria in 1897.
Mr. J. L. Toole
Who died at a very advanced age in 1906,
was a great friend of Sir Henry Irving.
He was, himself, however, a front-rank comedian; and in the
heyday of his powers was easily the greatest of his time.
He played a succession of comedy parts during
the 50 years he was before the public, and no member of the
profession was held in more esteem and affection by his brethren
or by the public who thronged to see and hear him.
Sir George Alexander
Who started life in the City, made his first
appearance on the stage in 1879.
He was for a time with Henry Irving
at the Lyceum, commencing
management for himself in 1890.
Connected with the St. James'
Theatre since 1891,
he was of London's most popular actor-managers, with his long
list of famous impersonations to his credit. Nor were his
interests confined to the stage, for he found time to do much
useful public work as a member of the London County Council.
He received the honour of Knighthood in 1911,
and has also the dignities of J. P. and L. L. D.
(Marie Wilton), who came of an
old Gloucestershire family, married Squire Bancroft in 1867.
Her debut on the stage was
made as a child in the provinces,
and her earlier appearances in London were at the Strand
Theatre. Her chief successes were, of course, at the Prince
of Wales Theatre, where she was joint manager with her
husband. The productions included comedies by Tom Robertson:
"Ours" "Caste;" "Play," "School,"
etc. Lady Bancroft is, with her husband, part authoress of
a delightful book of reminiscences.
Sir Herbert Tree
Was one of our most versatile actor-managers,
as well as a man of letters, and a brilliant raconteur. His
first appearance on the stage was in 1877,
and it is interesting to recall that he was the original "Rev
Robert Spalding" in "The Private Secretary."
As the proprietor and manager of His
Majesty's Theatre he has produced a remarkable series
of sumptuously mounted plays. He was a master of make-up,
and has played many famous and historic parts. Shakespearean
and otherwise, and he will long be remembered as the original
"Svengali" in the dramatised version of "Trilby."
Sir J. Forbes-Robertson
Surely one of the greatest exponents of "Hamlet"
of all time, is not only one of the most distinguished actors
of his period, but an accomplished painter. Becoming an actor
when 21, he was a pupil of Samuel Phelps, and was associated
with the Bancrofts and John Hare before he entered successfully
upon management on his own account in 1896.
A superb elocutionist, with a dignified stage presence, and
withal a most gracious and kindly personality, no actor of
our day ever had a more admiring public; and it was a matter
for keen regret when he decided to retire from the stage,
commencing his farewell tour at Drury
Lane in 1913.
Sir Charles Wyndham
The veteran, born in 1837,
was originally intended for the medical profession. He served
in the Federal Army during the early part of the American
Civil War, returning to England in 1865,
when he began his stage career, which was one of conspicuous
success. No name stood higher on the roll of histrionic fame,
and the knighthood which came to him in 1902,
was the fitting climax to his many years of good work. He
has played his famous part of "David Garrick" in
several European capitals, accompanied by Miss Mary Moore
(now Lady Wyndham) as "Ada Ingot."
The well known actor manager is a very talented player, especially
of "old man" parts. A master of clever make-up, and
a close student of character, he is a great favourite with the
London public. He has also appeared with great success in America,
where, singularly enough, he made his first stage appearance,
ill health, when young, having caused him to go to Colorado.
Married to that charming actress, Miss Winifred Emery, in 1888,
he was for many years co-manager of the Haymarket
Theatre, opening the playhouse (built by him) in 1907.
Miss Gertrude Elliott
(Lady Forbes-Robertson), the sister of Miss Maxime Elliott,
made her first appearance on the stage in Yew York in 1894,
becoming the wife of Forbes-Robertson six years afterwards.
Those who have seen that great actor as "Hamlet" will
equally remember his distinguished wife as "Orphelia."
In l902, she had great
success as "Peggy" in "Mice and Men," and
a complete list of the parts in which she has appeared with
her husband, to the delight of an appreciative public, would
occupy a considerable space.
W. S. Penley
Who died in 1912,
graduated to the stage from the choir of the Chapel Royal, and
scored his first success in "Trial by jury." After
some time spent In the provinces, he came to London, where he
made a great success as "Rev. Robert Spalding" in
"The Private Secretary." This firmly established his
reputation as a master of broad comedy; but be is better remembered
as the great impersonator of "Charlie's Aunt:," that
delightful old lady "from Brazil - where the nuts come
from!" is the amusing farce of which the public never seem
Sir John Hare
A veteran favourite, has been before the public for more than
fifty years, receiving the honour of knighthood in 1907.
He was for some time under the Bancrofts' management, at the
Prince of Wales Theatre, London, in
a series of Robertsonian comedies, and also appeared as "Sir
Peter Teazle" in "A School for Scandal." Many,
however, will remember him chiefly for his wonderful acting
as the genial and kindly "Benjamin Goldfinch," in
"A Pair of Spectacles," and will recall his closing
words, as the curtain comes down, "I would rather trust
and be deceived, than mistrust and be mistaken."
Miss Winifred Emery
Heredity must surely have played a part in shaping
the career of Miss Winifred Emery (Mrs. Maude), for her father,
grandfather, and great grandfather were all, in their day,
great actors, and she herself made her bow to her first audience
at the age of 8 years, in Liverpool.
She appeared In London in 1879,
was at the Court Theatre
with Wilson Barrett, and at the Lyceum
with Henry Irving.
Miss Emery, who is deservedly favourite with admirers of good
acting, toured the United States and Canada several times
with Irving's Company, and has played at all the principal
theatres in London.
MIss Julia Neilson
A great favourite with the play-going public,
made her first appearance at the Lyceum
Theatre in 1888,
in "Pygmalion and Galate." She has toured the United
States and Canada, as well as the most important
towns of Great Britain.
Miss Neilson, who played, "Rosalind" in "As
You Like It," during the longest run on record, commenced
joint management in 1900,
with her husband, Mr Fred Terry, at the Haymarket
Theatre, where she played "Nell Gwyn" in "Sweet
Nell of Old Drury," her rendering of the part of "Pretty
Nelly," as old Pepys always wrote of her, giving great
pleasure to her audiences.
Miss Gladys Cooper
One of the most charming of the younger actresses
of our day, is a a great favourite with London play-goers;
and her features are familiar, through photographs, to many
who have never seen her act.
Her earlier experiences were gained at the Gaiety
and Daly's Theatres, and she
has since played at the St. James'
Theatre, the Criterion,
and others, making consistent progress in her art, and gaining
the approbation of the public.
she had a great success in the parts of Anne, Nina, Annette,
Antze, Anna, and Annitea in "My Lady's Dress."
Will always be associated with memories of Gilbert
and Sullivan operas; for many years he played in the whole
series, except "The Yeoman of the Guard"; his rendering
of the famous part "Pooh-Bah" in "The Mikado"
being, perhaps, one of his greatest triumphs.
His admirably-refined style, and great gift
of natural humour, made him an ideal exponent of "Gilbert
and Sullivan" characters.
Not only is he a distinguished actor, but he
has produced numerous stage pieces, finding time, also, to
contribute regularly to the pages of Punch.
Originally a bank accountant, appeared on the
stage in the first place as an amateur, joining the company
of F. R. Benson at a later date. He was after-wards with George
Alexander, and like many of our well-known actors, has appeared
with success in the United States.
Of handsome presence, and a fine elocutionist,
he is a firm favourite with admirers of good acting; and his
playing of the part of "Ilam Carve" in "The
Great Adventure," found much favour with the theatre-going
Actor-manager, made his first appearance in
London in 1900, under
George Alexander, in the romantic play, "The Prisoner
of Zenda." He has acted with great distinction in a series
of important plays, including "Milestones" (surely
one of the most artistic plays of recent years, and a veritable
mirror of bygone Victorian Days), and "My Lady's Dress."
More recently he has played the name part in "Disraeli"
with conspicuous success, his interpretation of the famous
and romantic life of the great Conservative Statesman being
Miss Ellen Terry
Whose gracious presence and charming talent
are so well known to lovers of the drama, first acted with
Henry Irving in 1867.
A consummately talented actress, she was at her best in such
parts as "Portila" in "The Merchant of Venice,"
and those who have been privileged to see her in the character,
will always remember her delightful light-comedy part of "Nance
Oldfield." Her career, under the management of Sir Henry
Irving, was one of great artistic success, and she has for
many years held affectionate regard of a great play-going
Gerald du Maurier
The well-known Actor Manager of Wyndham's
Theatre, is a son of the late author and distinguished
Punch artist, George du Maurier.
From his first appearance with John Hare at
the Garrick Theatre in 1894,
he has steadily grown in popularity and ability; acting in
with Forbes Robertson, and later with Beerbohm Tree in London.
He was the original exponent of the part of the "Gentleman
Burglar," "Raffles," in 1906,
and had a great success as "Brewster," in "Brewster's
Millions," in 1907.
Comedian, was born at Boulogne-sur-mer, in 1841;
he died in 1909.
He obtained first prize at the Paris Conservatoire in 1860,
and opened at the Comedie Francaise in the same year. He toured
Europe and America several times; in 1895
he created his famous part of Cyrano de Bergerac, his acting
of the character of that renowned soldier and author (whose
huge nose was such a sad trial to him), bringing the distinguished
actor much fame.
One of the most popular actor-managers, is one
of a brilliant group who had the advantage of graduating from
Sir Henry Irving's company, of which
he was a member for fourteen years, accompanying his chief
on various tours through the States.
Probably his best known part, among many that
are fine, is that of Sidney Carlton, in "The Only Way,"
based on Charles Dickens' novel, "A Tale of Two Cities,"
the closing words being familiar to very many: "It is
a far, far better thing that I do, than have ever done; it
is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known."
The youngest of the famous Terry family, made
his first appearance on the stage at the Haymarket
Theatre at the age of 15, under the Bancroft's regime;
and since then has acted in nearly every town
of importance in the United Kingdom, the United States and
he married Miss Julia Neilson, and for many years they have
acted together, producing many successful plays, such as "The
Scarlet Pimpernel," affording fine scope for Mr. Terry's
great gifts as an actor of romantic parts.
Whose death at a comparatively early age occurred
in 1915, was a fine
all-round actor who was not only a great favourite with the
public at home, but had toured extensively in our Overseas
Dominions and America.
A splendid elocutionist, of commanding presence,
he impersonated a series of famous characters, Shakesperian
and otherwise, among his more famous romantic presentments
being "Monsieur Beaucatre."
Whose name is, with the public, a synonym for
all that is gracious and natural in acting, was a sister of
the late playwright, Tom Robertson.
Married to Mr. Kendal in 1869,
she and her husband were partners with John Hare from 1879
to 1888, at a later
period touring in America with great success.
While, perhaps, the character of "The Elder
Miss Blossom" may be considered Mrs. Kendal's most popular
role, she has played in many delightful parts since her debut
in 1865 as "Orphelia,"
that it is a little difficult to make a choice; and no actress
of our time has ever had a more loyal and affectionate public.
The popularity of Arthur Lloyd
The article below detailing
a Benefit performance for Arthur
Lloyd near the end of his career, and printed in the ERA
in September 1900, shows
just how popular he was amongst the actors of the legitimate
theatre as well as the music
hall stars of the period. Listed among the names of those
who promised their support at the Benefit were many of the
names detailed in the Players Cards reproduced on this page.
Mr. Arthur Lloyd made
his first appearance in a music hall at the old Whitebait,
Glasgow, in 1861.
In October, 1862,
he made his debut in London, appearing at three halls - the
Sun, Knightsbridge; the Marylebone;
and the Philharmonic, Islington.
A grand complimentary and testimonial benefit is being organised
for him, to take place about the middle or end of October.
The following well-known theatrical, music hall, and other
notabilities promise their patronage and support - Sir
Henry Irving, Messrs Charles Wyndham, George Edwardes,
Lionel Brough, George Alexander, Robert Arthur, W. S. Penley,
Sydney Paxton, H. E.
Moss, Oswald Stoll, Henri Gros, G. A. Payne, Richard Warner,
Will Oliver, J. Sparrow, Herbert Sprake, Harry Hunter, J.
H Berry, Charles Morton, Henry Gilman,
Edward Ledger, Charles Coote, Frank Dean, F. Nanoli, Herbert
Leno, Little Titch, Dick Dunn, D. Allen and Sons, and
This article was first published in the ERA,
8th September 1900.