Terry, Ellen

BORN 27 Feb 1847, Coventry, Warwickshire: Market Street - DIED 21 Jul 1928, Small Hythe, Kent (near Tenterden)
CAUSE OF DEATH cerebral hemorrhage
GRAVE LOCATION London: St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden (South wall in silver funeral casket (ashes))

Daughter of the actors Ben and Sarah Terry. She had eleven brothers and sisters. When she was eight she appeared at the Prince's Theatre in London in Mamillius' "The Winter's Tale", produced by Charles Kean. She stayed with his company until 1859.

After modelling for the painter G.F. Watts, she left the stage in 1864 to marry him. The marriage lasted for only ten months. After the separation she returned to the stage, but left it again to live in Hertfordshire with her lover, the architect and theatrical desginer Edward Godwin. They had two children, Edith and Edward (1872-1966), who became an actor, stage designer and producer known als Edward Gordon Graig.

When her relationship with Gordon headed towards an end, producer Charles Reade brought her back to the stage in 1874. She divorced Watts in 1877 and married the actor Charles Kelly on 21 Nov 1877. She had played with him in "New Men and Old Acres". In 1881 they separated and he died in 1888.

From 1878 onwards she worked with Henry Irving for more than twenty years. She impressed her audiences in her Shakespeare and Shaw parts and was among the most celebrated actresses of her time. Both J.M. Barrie And G.B. Shaw wrote parts especially for her. Her correspondence with Shaw in the 1890s became famous as a brilliant series of letter writing.

In 1900 she bought a farm house in Small Hythe, where she lived for the rest of her life. In 1907 she married the much younger American actor James Carew but they separated in 1910. In later years she gave public readings and in 1925 she was made a Dame of the British Empire. The cottage where she died in 1928 became the Ellen Terry National Museum and her daughter Edith Craig gave it to the National Trust in 1939.

Related persons
• was painted by Sargent, John Singer
• was a friend of Stoker, Bram
• is brother/sister of Terry, Fred


The ashes of Ellen Terry in St. Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London.
Picture by Androom (06 Feb 2012)


House where Ellen Terry lived at 211 King's Road, London.
Picture by Androom (26 May 2014)


• Crawford, Anne and others, The Europa Biographical Dictionary of British Women, Europa Publications Ltd, London, 1983
• Schöne, Günter, Bühnenstars, Florian Noetzel, Wilhelmshaven, 1998
Ellen Terry - Wikipedia

Terry, Fred

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 01 Apr 2022