Stirling, Mary Anne (1815–1895)

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Stirling, Mary Anne (1815–1895)

English actress. Name variations: Fanny Clifton; Mary Anne Kehl; Fanny Stirling; Lady Gregory. Born Mary Anne Kehl in 1815 in Mayfair, London; died on December 30, 1895, in London; daughter of Captain Kehl; married Edward Stirling (also known as Edward Lambert), around 1835 (died 1894); married Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, in 1894.

Born in London in 1815 and educated in France, Mary Anne Stirling, called Fanny, returned to London to become an actress. She performed in theaters outside London and then made her London debut in 1832 at the Coburg Theater under the name Fanny Clifton. She played tragic and comic parts equally well, and performed regularly until her retirement in 1870. Around 1835, she married actor, theater manager, and playwright Edward Stirling. In the 1830s and 1840s, he managed the Adelphi Royal Theater in London, where he and Mary Anne regularly performed together. She also played at the Theater Royal Drury Lane in the 1840s and 1850s, and was critically acclaimed for her Cordelia in King Lear at Princess's Theater in 1845. At the height of her fame, she performed and taught elocution at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Her greatest role was as Peg Woffington in Masks and Faces, a role she created at the Haymarket (1852). In the 1860s, she appeared in the company of St. James's Theater playing mostly comedy roles. Edward Stirling retired in 1879, but Mary Anne continued performing throughout the 1880s. She was celebrated for her part as the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at the Lyceum in 1882, and, in her final role, as Martha in Faust (1885). Widowed in 1894 at age 79, Mary Anne married again after a few months' bereavement. Her second husband was Sir Charles Hutton Gregory, a civil engineer in railroads, two years her junior. She died in 1895.

sources:

Stirling, Edward. Old Drury Lane; fifty years' recollections of author, actor, and manager. London: Chatto & Windus, 1881.

Laura York , M.A. in History, University of California, Riverside, California

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