Duff, Mary Ann Dyke (1794–1857)

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Duff, Mary Ann Dyke (1794–1857)

English actress. Born Mary Ann Dyke in 1794, in London, England; died Sept 5, 1857, in New York, NY; sister of Elizabeth (Bessie) Dyke Moore and Ann Dyke Murray; m. John R. Duff (actor), 1810 (died 1831); m. Charles Young (actor), 1833 (anulled); m. Joel G. Seaver (lawyer), 1836; children: 10.

One of the foremost tragic actresses of her time, studied dance along with sisters under ballet master at King's Theater; after father died, traveled with mother to Dublin, making stage debut there; sailed for Boston with husband (1810) and performed there and with Philadelphia company of William Warren and William Burke Wood, winning praise for charm but little praise for acting; matured as an actress and increasingly earned plaudits of critics; made New York debut in Hamlet (1822) and became enormously popular; played over 200 roles during career, ranging from farce to tragedy, including Queen Katherine in Henry VIII, Lady Macbeth, and Hermione in The Distrest Mother; broke with manager Henry Wallack (1826) and embarked on English tour which was not met with enthusiasm (1828); following 1st husband's death (1831), was forced to appear in popular but inferior plays to make ends meet; had brief and unsuccessful marriage to actor Charles Young (1833) and consequently suffered breakdown resulting in 6-month retirement from stage; returned to acting with some success, performing in Philadelphia, Baltimore and NY; married Joel G. Seaver (1836) and moved with him to New Orleans where Seaver practiced law under name Sevier; continued to make intermittent appearances on stage until 1838; wrote poetry and a religious novel, seeking refuge from successive tragedies in children's lives.

See also Joseph N. Ireland, Mrs. Duff (1882).

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Duff, Mary Ann Dyke (1794–1857)

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