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Elmy, Mary

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Born Mary Morse in 1712, she may have been performing at the Haymarket Theatre and Drury Lane by 1732. In January 1734 she became Mrs (William?) Elmy; she appeared under her new name on 31 January 1734 as Charlotte in “Oroonoko”. After several more seasons in London she went to Dublin, making her Irish debut at the Aungier Street Theatre as Mrs Sullen in “The Stratagem” in October 1738. In January 1747 she was back at Drury Lane, where she remained for several seasons, establishing her line of leading and secondary ladies, including Indiana in “The Conscious Lovers”, Desdemona in “Othello”, Mrs Strickland in “The Suspicious Husband”, Dorinda in “The Stratagem”, Octavia in “All for Love” and Hero in “Much Ado about Nothing”. In October 1750 she took her repertoire to Covent Garden, where she was engaged for the remainder of her career. Among her new characters was Gertrude in “Hamlet (G0047), a role she acted for the first time on 11 October 1751; “The Rosciad of C-v-nt G-rd-n” (1762) praised her performance. Other roles included Belinda in “The Old Bachelor”, the Duchess of York in “Richard III”, Portia in “Julius Caesar”, Regan in “King Lear” and Lady Brute in “The Provok’d Wife”. Mrs Elmy retired from the stage in April 1762. She was accounted an actress of the second rank. After her retirement she lived some 30 years, until her death on 1 April 1792 at the age of 80, in Knightsbridge, where according to her will she seems to have lived in some comfort. (BDA)
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