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Dame Mary Louise ('May') Whitty
Sitter in 9 portraits
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by W. & D. Downey, published by Eglington & Cocarbon print, published 1 October 1890NPG Ax9377
Benjamin Webster; May Whitty
by Alfred Elliswoodburytype, published 1 October 1895NPG x27315
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 20 April 1920NPG x19314
by Bassano Ltdwhole-plate glass negative, 20 April 1920NPG x19315
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19391
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19392
by Bassano Ltdhalf-plate glass negative, 14 September 1931NPG x19393
by Bassano Ltdbromide print, 1937NPG x83537
by Bassano Ltdbromide print, July 1939NPG x83538
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22 August 2018, 09:16
DAME MAY WHITTY
Dame May Whitty born Mary Louse Whitty in Liverpool June 19th, 1865.
May Whitty’s grandfather, originally a journalist was Liverpool’s first Chief Constable he was also founder of the Police force and Fire Brigade in Liverpool and later founded the Liverpool Daily Post.
May Whitty made her debut in the chorus of the Mountain Sylph at the Royal Court Theatre Liverpool 1881, a year later she was on the West End. She joined the Lyceum Company under the management of Sir Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.
Her stage career was prolific
After nearly 25 years as one of the leading British stage actresses she made her first film appearance in Enoch Arden 1914.
Arguable her most well-known role was that of Miss Froy in Hitchcock’s The |Lady Vanishes 1938.
She was twice nominated for an Oscar, Night must Fall 1937 and Mrs Minerva 1942.
She was said to have retained he Liverpool humour once saying, ‘I’ve got everything that Betty Grable has- only I’ve had it longer.’
She is the first actress ever to be created a Dame for services to the Arts and services to hospital work during WW1. She did much charity work all her life saying, ‘So long as I can do my bit, I’ll keep right on doing it.’
Dame May Whitty died of cancer on 29th May 1948 at the age of 82 in Los Angeles.
A memorial plaque in St Pauls Church, Covent Garden pays homage to her and her husband. “They were a lovely and pleasant in their lives and in their death, they were not divided.”
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