Friday, May 25, 2018

Old Adam: or, when talent skips a generation


Today's request. Here you are, George ...


Was born Richard Horatio Marriott 1847 in Manchester, the illegitimate son of star actress Alice Marriott, undoubtedly not by her later (1856) husband Irishman Robert Edgar who, around this time, was lessee of the Adelphi Theatre, Liverpool and theatres in Wigan and St Helen’s, and ‘married’ to the actress Anna Newby. Anna died aged 29, in Lancaster lunatic asylum.

Richard’s life in the theatre was persistent if modest. From his teens, he acted as acting manager for his mother, at Sadler’s Wells, in America, and on tour in England, performing minor roles when needed. He had perhaps his most noteworthy moment in the theatrical world when he joined Charles Collette in putting together the successful vehicle for the comedian entitled Cryptoconchoidsyphonostomata in 1875.

He tried himself as a music-hall comic, went bankrupt trying to run the Theatre Royal, Rochdale, turned out a Comic Historie of Heraldry, played in touring companies (Imprudence &c), and, for a few years, between 1887-9 played with D’Oyly Carte’s touring companies in The Mikado (Pish Tush) and Ruddigore (Old Adam). He promoted ‘Richard Edgar’s Comedy Company’ in the 1890s. 
He died at 40 Weltje Rd Hammersmith 29 Sept 1894.

Son Richard can be seen running an Islington bottle-store in 1901 along with mother, two brothers and a sister. Son George, would go on to be known as ‘Marriott Edgar’ (1880-1851) and have a career as a writer ('Albert and the Lion', the hit musical Jill Darling). The novelist ‘[Richard Horatio] Edgar Wallace’ was apparently his illegitimate son ‘born in poverty…’ 1 April 1875, to an actress in the Marriott  company. A week earlier Richard had married musician’s daughter, Jane Taylor (1856-1937).

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