Celebrity for the week ending
Saturday, 25 July 2009

Marie Studholme (1875-1930),
English musical comedy star

Marie Studholme
Marie Studholme in her dressing room

(photo: R.W. Thomas, London, 1904)

'Miss Marie Studholme is another devoted admirer of pets of all kinds. Her tastes lie more particularly in the direction of dogs and parrots, and she possesses three dogs besides four or five of the above-mentioned interesting birds, who all appear devoted to her. It is a very pretty sight to see her with her favourite pet, a large cockatoo, nestling in her arms. To all the rest of the world Cocky is somewhat malicious, not to say spiteful; he is not above an occasional peck at the incautious stranger, and has a weird habit of dancing up and down on his perch, shouting in tones of diabolical glee, ''Hurrah! Wake the Baby.'' But he never appears to show these unpleasing sides of his character to his mistress. A little while ago Cocky managed somehow or other to fly away, to the grief of his friends, and next morning news came that a white cockatoo had been seen perched on the roof of St. Elizabeth's Hospital, which is in the vicinity of Cocky's home. Miss Studholme went off immediately and obtained leave from the sisters to go up in search of her lost pet. When she emerged on to the roof there sat Cocky, gloomy and defiant, among the chimney-pots, and his sole answer to all her blandishments was to peck and spit at her. While Miss Studholme was thus engaged, she heard a surprised voice saying, ''What are you doing up there?'' and turning, she saw Miss Sibyl Arundale, whose home is in the neighbourhood. She answered immediately, ''Don't you see? - trying to catch my parrot again.'' ''Your parrot!'' said Miss Arundale. ''What do you mean? That is my bird - I know it quite well. I came up here to fetch it.'' The situation was becoming somewhat strained, when fortunately Miss Studholme remembered that her bird wore a bracelet around its leg, and on examining the cockatoo they found that he was minus this ornament, and peace was restored. But what a scene for a musical comedy! The missing Cocky was found by Miss Studholme when she got back to her house, as he had apparently got tired of liberty and returned to his mistress of his own accord.
'Miss Studholme made her first appearance in La Cigale [at the Lyric Theatre, London, during 1891], in a small part which she took over from Miss Ellis Jeffreys, who was abandoning musical comedy for comedy proper, in which she has since made such a great success. Miss Studholme has been under Mr. George Edwardes's management during most of her professional career, and has a great opinion of his talents as organiser and stage manager. Some day she hpes to appear in ''real comedy'' herself, and indeed it is rumoured that this even may occur next year perhaps. Her favourite part is that of Iris in The Greek Slave, which she played on tour and later in London. Miss Marie Studholme is fond of touring as a change, but generally finds that before the tour is over she is beginning to long to be back among her pets and flowers in her pretty house in St. John's Wood.'
(from B.M. Williams, 'Some Actresses at Home,' The Lady's Realm, London, October 1904, pp. 704-706)

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© John Culme, 2009