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Matthison, Edith (1875–1955)

Matthison, Edith (1875–1955)

English actress . Born Edith Wynne Matthison in Birmingham, England, on November 23, 1875; died on September 23, 1955; daughter of Henry Matthison and Kate (Wynne) Matthison; married Charles Rann Kennedy (a playwright).

Edith Matthison, who first trod the boards in illustrator Edith Holden 's backyard, made her legitimate stage debut at Blackpool in December 1896 in The School Girl. A Shakespearean actress and leading lady for Sir Henry Irving and Herbert Beerbohm Tree, she first came to the public's attention when, at short notice, she played the part of Violet Oglander in The Lackey's Carnival at the Duke of York's Theater in September 1900. Her performance in Everyman in 1902 led to her New York debut in the same play. Matthison remained for two years in America, appearing as Viola in Twelfth Night and Kate Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer. On her return to England, she was engaged by Irving to tour with him as Portia to his Shylock in Merchant of Venice which then opened at the Drury Lane in May 1905. Matthison often played both sides of the Atlantic, appearing in King Henry VIII and Merry Wives of Windsor with Beerbohm Tree in New York in 1916. Back in London in 1926, she appeared as Francesca da Rimini in The Salutation; on her return to America in 1930, she was a great success when she appeared as Hamlet. She married Charles Rann Kennedy and also performed in many of his plays.

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