Bateman, Kate (1842–1917)
Bateman, Kate (1842–1917)
American actress. Name variations: Mrs. George Crowe. Born Kate Josephine Bateman in Baltimore, Maryland, on October 7, 1842; died in 1917; second child of H.L. Bateman (a theatrical manager) and Frances Bateman (an actress and playwright); sister ofEllen Bateman (also a child actor who retired from the stage in 1856 and later married Claude Greppo); married George Crowe, in October 1866.
Born into a theatrical family and hailed as a child prodigy, Kate Bateman toddled onto the stage at age three, appearing with her father and sister Ellen in Babes in the Woods. While still a child, she toured with her sister, showcasing an unusual talent in such classics as Richard III, as well as other dramas. The pair also toured in England, where they found even greater success. Back home in 1956, they retired from the stage. Ellen subsequently married, while Kate went on to study acting.
Kate returned to the stage in 1860 in the title role of Evangeline, a play, written by her mother Frances Bateman , based on the Longfellow poem. But it was her performance two years later as Julie in The Hunchback that raised her to star status. This was followed by successful portrayals of Lady Gay Spanker in London Assurance and Lady Teazel in The School for Scandal, among others. Although Bateman was consistently praised for her integrity and charm, her ability was often called into question, causing one critic to comment, "In some parts (Juliet and Lady Macbeth, for instance) she seemed utterly at sea."
The year 1860 also saw Bateman in England playing what would become her signature role,
the "Jewess" Leah, who was deserted by her Christian lover, in Leah, the Forsaken. One critic wrote of her performance: "Its merits are strength, impetuosity and pathos. Its profound defect is its lack of emotional abandon." That year, during the autumn season in London, Bateman played Leah in 211 successive performances. With her career firmly established, she then visited all of the principal British provincial cities, performing her favorite roles in repertory. In the winter of 1866, another London tour was cut short by illness.
In October 1866, Bateman, still recuperating, was married to Dr. George Crowe, son of British author and longtime editor of the London Daily News Eyre Evans Crowe. After a year off to fully regain her health, she returned to the stage in yet another tour as Leah. In later years, she appeared with Henry Irving in Macbeth and played the title role in Tennyson's Queen Mary. In 1892, she established a school of acting in London, where she taught for many years.