Edward O'Connor Terry

(1844—1912) actor and theatre proprietor

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(1844–1912), English actor and manager, not, as far as is known, connected with the family of Benjamin Terry. After some years in the provinces, when he was briefly in the same company as the young Henry Irving and played such parts as Touchstone and Dogberry in Manchester, he made his first appearance in London in 1867, at the Surrey Theatre, and then played in burlesque and light comedy for several years at the Strand Theatre. In 1876 he was engaged by Hollingshead for the Gaiety Theatre, where he became one of the famous ‘quartet’. In 1887 he opened a theatre under his own name in the Strand, on the site of a famous ‘song-and-supper room’, the Coal Hole, the first production being his own adaptation of a German play as The Churchwarden. A year later he scored his first outstanding success as Dick Phenyl in Pinero's Sweet Lavender. In 1902 Terry appeared for the first time in musical comedy with My Pretty Maid, followed in 1903 by My Lady Molly, which had a long run. After this his only commercial success was Mrs Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1907), dramatized by Alice Hegan Rice from her book. In 1910 he gave up his theatre, which then became a cinema and was demolished in 1923, and toured extensively in Australia, South Africa, and the USA. Though not a good straight actor, Terry was an excellent ‘eccentric comedian’ and a careful and conscientious manager.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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