3 April 1914|
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||22 July 1999
Windsor, Berkshire, England, United Kingdom
Mary Kerridge (April 3, 1914 – July 22, 1999) was an English actress and theatre director, who (with her husband, John Counsell) ran the Theatre Royal, Windsor] and its in-house repertory company from the 1930s to the 1980s. Her daughter is the actress Elizabeth Counsell.
Born in Islington to Ernest Kerridge and Antoinette Fick, she attended Highbury Hill School from 1924 to 1928. Her family later moved to Esher, Surrey and she attended Wimbledon High School from January 1929 to July 1932, having taken her London University Higher Certificate in English, French, Modern History and German in June 1932. At University College London, she studied for the (one year) Intermediate Arts BA. She worked as a secretary, model and receptionist before making her name as an actress. In the middle of 1939 she married John Counsell, the managing director of the Theatre Royal, Windsor. She gave birth to twin daughters in 1942, one of them the actress Elizabeth Counsell.
Beginning her career in the repertory companies of Margate, Southsea and Bath, Kerridge made her West End debut in 1937 with Edgar Wallace's The Squeaker. She then based herself in Windsor, running the Theatre Royal and its in-house repertory company, whilst also directing and performing. During the second world war she toured with Donald Wolfitt's travelling Shakespearean company.
After the war, she appeared in a number of West End productions under her husband's direction, amongst them Tyrone Guthrie's only play as a writer ("Top Of The Ladder" at the St James theatre in 1950). At the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre, she was directed by the theatre's founder as Rosalind in As You Like It and Imogen in Cymbeline. In 1955 she played Queen Elizabeth in Laurence Olivier film of Richard III, then reprised the role for Olivier's company at The Old Vic in 1962 (opposite Paul Daneman's Richard), alongside the part of Portia in Julius Caesar. In 1963 and 1964 she appeared alongside Michael MacLiammoir at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin and the Vaudeville Theatre, respectively.
Mary Kerridge died in Windsor on July 22, 1999 and was buried at St George's Chapel, Windsor. Fittingly, the chapel is also the resting place of Elizabeth Woodville, the Queen Elizabeth in Richard III that Kerridge famously played.
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