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Webster, Margaret

Margaret Webster, 1905–72, American actress, producer, and director, b. New York City; daughter of Ben Webster and Dame May Whitty. Webster made her formal acting debut in 1924. After working with several English companies, including the Old Vic (1929–30), she returned to the United States and began (1935) an outstanding career as director and producer. In 1946, together with Eva Le Gallienne, she founded and managed the American Repertory Theatre, and from 1948 to 1951 she directed the Margaret Webster Shakespeare Company. Webster directed several operas and notable presentations of Shakespeare in England. She wrote Shakespeare without Tears (1942), Shakespeare Today (1957), and two autobiographical works, The Same Only Different (1969) and Don't Put Your Daughter on the Stage (1972).

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Whitty, Dame May

Dame May Whitty, 1865–1948, English actress. She made her London debut in 1881. In 1892 she married Ben Webster, an actor, and in 1895 she first appeared in the United States, becoming a favorite on the stage and in films. Her notable films include Night Must Fall (1938), The Lady Vanishes (1938), and Mrs. Miniver (1942). Her forte was the portrayal of kind but strong-minded old ladies. She was made a Dame of the British Empire in 1918. Her daughter was Margaret Webster.

See M. Webster, The Same Only Different (1969).

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