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Mona Vivian

(1894-1971), Actress and revue star

(Annie) Mona Jessie Vivian

Sitter in 8 portraits

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Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x153961

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 4 April 1919
NPG x153961

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x84984

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
bromide print, 4 April 1919
NPG x84984

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101332

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101332

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101333

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101333

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101334

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101334

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101335

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101335

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101336

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101336

Mona Vivian, by Bassano Ltd - NPG x101337

Mona Vivian

by Bassano Ltd
whole-plate glass negative, 25 April 1921
NPG x101337


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Roger Toft

25 March 2019, 14:37

My father was the first cousin of Mona Vivian. Their mothers, respectively Margaret and Anne Griffith, were sisters. Their father, Joshua Griffith, was a wealthy coal-mine owner in Wales, but he went bankrupt after his cashier vanished to Australia after stealing £ 56,000 of his employer's money. Anne married a Roy Vivian, who abandoned his wife not long after she gave birth to Mona. Thrown back on her own resources, Anne was compelled to play the piano in pubs to support herself and Mona, then ( I guess ) below the age of 10. The little girl added spice to her mother's performance with a song and dance routine. Mona must have had talent, as she went on to become a star on the West End stage, especially in pantomime - when she often took the part of the principal boy. This displeased her mother's sister Gwendolen, who had married Sir Reginald Brade ( see Internet ) and who lived in court circles. A Guards' office proposed to Mona, but she unabashedly turned him down. Instead, she wedded the millionaire Hilton Crowther ( see Internet ) who was 15 years older. However, he made Mona give up her theatrical career. Did she get bored ? I don't know, but some years later they divorced. Hilton Crowther settled £ 1,000,000 on Mona, in the 1930s ! And she returned to the stage. When I saw her the first time, it was in 1947 and she was living with her mother Anne in Portman Square. I was too young to pay much attention to the conversation, and all the more so because Mona had TV and I had never seen it before. Ten years or so later, my parents again took me to see her, but I do not recall where it was : somewhere along the South Coast. She was then in her 60s, and plumpish, but sparkled and with her make-up looked as if she was due on stage any second. She was living with a younger and very masculine-looking Canadian woman, who I later learned tended most devotedly to her needs at the end of her life.

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