Ellen Hanley

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Ellen Hanley
Born(1926-05-15)May 15, 1926
DiedFebruary 12, 2007(2007-02-12) (aged 80)
Spouse(s)Ronny Graham (1951-1963)

Ellen Hanley (May 15, 1926 – February 12, 2007) was a musical theater performer best known for playing Fiorello H. LaGuardia's first wife in the Pulitzer Prize-winning Fiorello!. She was related to the British writers James and Gerald Hanley, and the playwright, novelist, and scriptwriter William Hanley was her brother.


Ellen Hanley was born in Lorain, Ohio, one of three children of William Gerald and Anne Rodgers Hanley.[1] William Hanley, Sr. was born in Liverpool, England in 1899,[2] of Irish Catholic immigrants. He was a seaman prior to settling in the US, and then worked as a housepainter.[3]

In 1951, Hanley married Ronny Graham, a fellow actor. They had two children, Nora and Julian. The couple divorced in 1963.[4]

Ellen Hanley made her Broadway debut in Annie Get Your Gun in 1946 playing the part of Mary. The following year she appeared in Barefoot Boy With Cheek and won a Theater World award for her performance as Clothilde Pfefferkorn.[4] in thel ate 1940s and 1950s she "toured extensively in summer-stock shows" and also during the 1950s performed in Julius Monk’s revues.[5] In 1952 she had a part in the musical revue Two's Company, introducing the song "Roundabout". In 1959 she took over the leading role in First Impression from Polly Bergen, playing Elizabeth Bennett in a musical based on Pride and Prejudice. Later that year she sang in Fiorello!. The Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical was a hit which ran for nearly 800 performances.[4] She acted in The Boys From Syracuse in 1963, a Richard Rodgers-Lorenz Hart musical based on Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors.[6]

Hanley died on February 12, 2007, aged 80, in Norwalk, Connecticut, of a stroke after a long battle with cancer.[6]



  • Theatre World Award (1947) for Clothilde Pfefferkorn in Barefoot Boy With Cheek.[7]


  1. ^ Heves, Dennis (June 3, 2012). "William Hanley, Playwright and TV Writer, Dies at 80". The New York Times. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  2. ^ "James Hanley's Life" in James Hanley's The Closed Harbour. London: Oneworld Classics, 2009, p. 202
  3. ^ James Hanley, Broken Water: An Autobiographical Excursion. London: Chatto & Windus, 1937, p.130, 134, 140, 246; Lorain Public Library System, local authors, Lorain.lib.oh.us
  4. ^ a b c Ellen Hanley, 80, Actress in Musicals, Dies
  5. ^ "Ellen Hanley, 80, Actress in Musicals, Dies".New York Times 14 February 2007, [1]
  6. ^ a b Broadway performer Ellen Hanley dies
  7. ^ New York Public Library


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