Roy Redgrave

Roy Redgrave

Infobox actor
name = Roy Redgrave

imagesize = 230px
caption = Roy Redgrave and Miss Tittell Brune appearing in "Leah Kleschna" circa 1907.
birthname = George Edward Redgrave
birthdate = April 26, 1873
birthplace = Kennington, Lambeth, South London, England, United Kingdom
deathdate = death date and age|1922|5|25|1873|4|26
deathplace = Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
website =
yearsactive = 1911 - 1920
spouse = Ellen Maud Pratt (div.)
Margaret Scudamore

Roy Redgrave (26 April, 1873 [According to IMDB/Internet Movie Database it is sourced as "1871"] – 25 May 1922) was a stage and silent film actor. Roy Redgrave was the eldest son of George Augustus Redgrave, a maker of the board game Bagatelle, and Zoe Beatrice Elsworthy Pym and was the patriarch of the Redgrave acting family.

Early life

Born George Edward Redgrave in Kennington, a district of Lambeth in South London in 1873, he was by 1897 professionally known as 'Roy' Redgrave apparently in the belief that he was descended from Rob Roy. The Redgrave family originated in the Northamptonshire village of Crick and a tentative link has been established to another Northamptonshire village Stowe Nine Churches in the early 16th century. Redgrave also assumed the middle name "Elsworthy" from his mother Zoe Beatrice Elsworthy Pym, and his sister took the stage name Dolly Elsworthy.


His first wife was actress Ellen Maud Pratt, the daughter of prosperous Devon farmer, John Dew Pratt of Buckland Monachorum. Her stage name Judith Kyrle. They were married in Littleham cum Exmouth, Devon on 1 September 1894. Their careers reached a high point at their joint debut at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton in April 1900 with Roy billed as "The Dramatic Cock o' the North". They had three children, John Kyrle born in 1895, Robin Roy (father of Major-General Sir Roy Redgrave) born in 1897 and Nellie Maud born in 1898.

About this time Roy fell in love with a young actress named Esther Mary Cooke, (known on the stage as Ettie Carlisle), daughter of Victor Cooke, huntsman and riding master. Ellen discovered the affair and Ettie fled England for South Africa. Roy followed her to South Africa and persuaded her to return to England in 1903. They had one son, Victor (later known as Victor Carlisle).

At some point Roy left for Australia alone. In the "History of Australian Theatre" archives, the American actress Tittell Brune made her first appearance in Australia on 21 September 1904 at Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney, in the play "Sunday", supported by Roy Redgrave. Roy toured with her on the J. C. Williamson circuit. According to Corin Redgrave, Ellen (Judith) pursued Roy to Australia, arriving in time to pay his unsettled hotel bills. Ellen was unable to persuade him to return him home with her to his family. Ellen remarried Frederick John Nettlefold, a respectable landed gentleman in 1907.

However Roy did return to England, appearing in repertory at the Grand Theatre, Brighton, where he met Daisy Bertha Mary Scudamore. They married at Glasgow Registry Office in 1907 while touring in the north and had one child, the actor Sir Michael Redgrave born on 20 March 1908, later to become the father of actors Vanessa, Lynn and Corin.

Six months after Michael's birth, Redgrave left for Australia again, this time permanently. William Anderson, a Melbourne producer, had just built the King's Theatre, and needed actors. His name appears in June 1909, when he performed in the play "The Bank of England". The following year, Anderson, known for his fondness of the lurid and sensational, had Roy collaborate with him on a play about the just ended Crippen case. Crippen was hanged in November 1910. The play was called "By Wireless Telegraphy", but there is no record that a production came out of it. In 1911, Anderson was ruined financially by an expensive flop, and had to lease away his King's Theatre, and Roy turned his attention to the new and burgeoning film industry, under contract to Lincoln-Cass Films. He appeared in several silent movies, beginning in 1911 with "The Christian". Later he played the villain in "Moondyne" (1913) as well as six shorts, played the lead in "The Hayseeds" (1917), and co-starred in "Robbery Under Arms" (1920). Back in England, the forsaken Daisy had changed her name to Margaret and married Captain James Anderson, a wealthy tea planter.

Remaining in Australia

Roy remained in Australia until his death sometime in the 1920s, but exactly where he lived and when he died remained a mystery to his family in England until his granddaughter Lynn Redgrave visited Sydney with her then husband John Clark, and vowed to find him. Their search ended at the Sydney Opera House library, where, as she recounts in her play "Shakespeare For My Father" (page 48), they came up with Roy's obituary, learning that he had died on 25 March 1922, and was buried at South Head Cemetery. There they learned that he had been put in an unmarked grave by somebody called Minnie, who paid 15 shillings. (The idea that it may have been the religious Minnie Tittell Brune feeling sorry for him is enticing). They found the spot, and arranged for a headstone, asked his son Michael what it should say, and he said to put, simply, "Roy Redgrave, Actor". It was later discovered that Roy married an Irish widow named Mary Leresche in 1916. His marriage certificate makes reference to his previous marriage to Ellen (Judith) but not to his subsequent marriage to Daisy (Margaret Scudamore). Mary died in 1948.

ilent filmography

* Robbery Under Arms (1920) .... Dan Moran
* Our Friends the Hayseeds (1917) aka The Hayseeds (Australia) .... Dad Hayseed
* The Crisis (1913)
* Moondyne (1913) .... Isaac Bowman
* The Remittance Man (1913)
* The Reprieve (1913)
* The Road to Ruin (1913)
* The Sick Stockrider (1913)
* Transported (1913)
* The Christian (1911) .... John Storm


ee also

* Lynn Redgrave
* John Clark (actor/director)

External links

* [ Fortunatus History (Skidmore)]
* [ History of Australian Theatre, Minnie Tittell Brune]
* [ William Anderson and Kings Theatre, Melbourne]

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