Alma Stuart Stanley as the Lady Ella in Patience

Alma Stuart Stanley (1881)

[Born St. Heliers, Jersey 26 Oct 1854, died London 8 Mar 1931]

Originally trained as a dancer, Lenora Alma Stuart Stanley made her first appearance on stage in Milan in 1872, and her first in England at the Theatre Royal, Hull, in 1873. She was then engaged at Cremorne Gardens in Black Ey'd Susan, and went on to appear at the Gaiety and several other London Theatres in the 1870s. Among her credits was an appearance in W. S. Gilbert's The Wedding March (Haymarket, July 1875).

She came to America in 1880, making her New York debut at Haverley's Fourteenth Street Theatre in La Fille du Tambour Major in October of that year. She had her only D'Oyly Carte engagement in 1881, appearing in November at New York's Standard Theatre as the second of three Lady Ellas with Carte's American Patience Company. On June 5, 1882, she appeared at Tony Pastor's Broadway Theatre in "a musical and political fairy extravaganza, entitled Venus," actually Gilbert & Gilbert à Beckett's The Happy Land.

She returned to England in 1883, and except for a return visit to America in 1886 in which she toured with Lillian Russell in Pepita, appeared regularly in London and the British provinces in light opera, drama, comedy, variety, and pantomime for the next twenty years. One notable role was Mrs. Colonel Harkaway, a wealthy young widow, in Charles Abbott's farcical comedy The Sleepwalker (Strand, 1893), an adaptation of Gilbert's short story "Wide Awake." Her last appearance in London was in The House Agent's Dilemma (Queen's Gate Hall, 1902).

In her later years she lived in a small flat over a garage in the West End of London. Miss Stanley died in Holloway Jail on Sunday, March 8, 1931. She was being held on a charge of drunkenness over the weekend, and only after her death was she identified as the once popular actress. At an inquest, the jury returned a verdict of "death by natural causes."

Page created August 27, 2001© 2001 David Stone