Evelyn Millard as Lady Marian








The postcards above are of the English stage actress Evelyn Millard. She, according to A.E Wilson in his book ‘Edwardian Theatre,’ consumed plays with her grace and decorative beauty.’

We can see Evelyn as Lady Marian in a production with Lewis Waller of ‘Robin Hood’ that was later performed in front of King Edward VII at Windsor Castle in 1906. Below is the excellent full biography of this legendary stage star, reproduced in full and unaltered, courtesy of Don Gillan (Copyright),
www.stagebeauty.net.

"Evelyn Millard was born in Kensington, London on 18th September 1869. She was the daughter of John Millard, a teacher of elocution at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music. She was educated in London, and studied at the Female School of Art, 43 Queen Square, Bloomsbury. However it would be acting, not art that she would make her eventual vocation.

She made her stage debut at the Haymarket Theatre on 25th January, 1891, in a walk-on role in the third act of Henry Jones play "The Dancing Girl". She then moved on to the Theatre Royal, Margate where she came under the tutelage of Sarah Thorne. She appeared on stage there in a number of roles, including most notably 'Julia' in "The Hunchback", 'Hero' in "Much Ado About Nothing", and 'Juliet' in "Romeo and Juliet", later going on tour with Thomas Thorne.

She returned to London in December that year when she was taken on by the Gattis at the Adelphi. Leading man there at the time was William Terris, the father of Ellaline Terris, who would be sensationally murdered by a madman outside the theatre some years later. Her first role at the Adelphi was as 'Constance Cuthbertson' in the drama "The Trumpet Call". She remained at the Adelphi for almost two years appearing in numerous roles and perfecting her acting talents under the Adelphi's leading lady, Mrs Patrick Campbell.

In 1894, her reputation growing rapidly, Evelyn went on tour with George Alexander - appearing as 'Rosamund' in "Sowing the Wind", 'Dulcie' in "The Masqueraders" and 'Paula' in "The Second Mrs Tanqueray". Returning to London she continued in the latter role at the St James's theatre, and stayed on at that theatre in a succession of other roles - including creating the role of 'Cecily Cardew' in the first ever performance of Oscar Wilde's wonderfully witty comedy "The Importance of Being Earnest" which premiered on February 14th, 1895. In September that year she appeared before Queen Victoria playing the role of 'Blanche Ferriby' in a command performance of "Liberty Hall" at Balmoral, after which she continued in this role opening at the St James's.

From January 1896, she made a great success as 'The Princess Flavia' in the premiere production of "The Prisoner of Zenda", and thereby firmly established herself, if she was not already, as a recognised box-office star. In 1897 she left the St James's to join Beerbohm Tree's company, playing at Her Majesty's Theatre and on tour in several roles. Her greatest success in Tree's company being as 'Portia' in a revival of "Julius Caesar" opening in January 1898.

She had by now come to the attention of Charles Frohman, the great American theatrical manager, who then secured her services as leading lady at the Duke of York's Theatre where he had just taken over the lease. For the next three years she would be his main attraction. Among the roles she played there were 'Lady Ursula Barrington' in the comedy "The Adventure of Lady Ursula", and the title role in Jerome K. Jerome's "Miss Hobbs", both of which ran for over 200 performances, and 'Cho-Cho-San' in the British premiere of the original David Belasco "Madame Butterfly". The latter production was seen by Giacomo Puccini, who used the play as the basis for his famous opera of the same name.

In 1900 she was married to Robert Porter Coulter, and shortly thereafter took a little over a years absence from the stage during which time she gave birth to a daughter. Ursula, who would herself become an actress, was born on 20th September, 1901. Evelyn returned to the stage and the St James's in March 1902 to play 'Francesca' in the tragedy "Paolo and Francesca", and over the next few years was rarely absent from the West End stage as her career continued to blossom. She played opposite many of the best male actors of that era, particularly Lewis Waller with whom she gave many of her best performances, and appeared in many of the best classical and modern parts. There were also further command performances in November 1904, and November 1906, both times at Windsor Castle before King Edward. On the first occasion she appeared as 'Lady Mary Carlyle' in "Monsieur Beaucaire" opposite Lewis Waller, and on the second 'Lady Marian' in "Robin Hood".

In 1908 she created her own highly successful company playing at various London venues as well as on tour. Her repertory in this period included the title role in "The Adventure of Lady Ursula" in which she had made an early success, Ophelia in "Hamlet", "Madame Butterfly", 'Edith Dombey' in "Dombey and Son", 'Olivia' in "Twelfth Night", 'Queen Elizabeth' in "Drake", 'Agnes' in "David Copperfield", and others.

Then, like so many other stars of her era, her career was effectively ended by the outbreak of the Great War. Her last major role was as 'Agnes Wickfield' in "David Copperfield" at His Majesty's Theatre in December 1914, although she did make a breif reappearance to play 'Calpurnia' in the Sheakespearean Tercentenary performance of "Julius Caesar" in May 1916.

In a professional career lasting some twenty-three years she was constantly in work, only rarely appearing outside of London and unlike most other top performers never undertaking a foreign tour. A woman of great beauty and considerable acting talent she was much loved by the theatre going public and always a sure box-office attraction. Following her retirement she continued to live in London at Abingdon Court. She passed away on 9th March, 1941, aged 70.”
Don Gillan

Don Gillan’s web site is well worth a visit and can be found at
http://www.stagebeauty.net/

2 comments:

Clement of the Glen said...

Evelyn Millard
Lady Marian
Maid Marian

Azul said...

I always wanted to be her... Marian I mean