Anna Maria Crouch
Early life and acting career
Born Anna Maria Phillips, she first went on stage as a child, acting and singing. Articled to Thomas Linley, she made her debut at Drury Lane theatre in 1780 as Mandane in Thomas Arne's Artaxerxes, and became a principal in the regular company of the theatre under the management of Sheridan and Linley. In 1781 she made a great success as the heroine in Charles Dibdin's Lionel and Clarissa. She was a notable Ophelia, Olivia and Celia. Her Polly Peachum in The Beggar's Opera was well-known. In 1787 her stage partnership began with the Irish actor and singer, Michael Kelly, on his arrival in London with Stephen and Nancy Storace from the Viennese court.
Marriage and affair
In 1784 she had married a naval lieutenant named Crouch. In 1790 she was at Brighton to perform at the opening of the Duke Street Theatre. By 1791, her marriage was suffering, and she was deeply involved in an affair with Kelly. However, this did not prevent her from entering into an affair with the Prince of Wales, occurring while he was living with Maria Anne Fitzherbert. The affair was brief, but she benefited financially, with the general belief being that she received somewhere in the amount of 10,000 pounds from the Prince when the affair ended. Following her marital separation from Crouch in 1791, her domestic partnership with Michael Kelly became generally known.
She died suddenly, of unknown causes, on October 2, 1805, while in Brighton. There are reports that indicate that her death was possibly as a result of a carriage accident. She is buried in St. Nicholas's churchyard, Brighton, and has a monument which was provided by Michael Kelly.