the Kendals



  • The actors W. H. Kendal (William Hunter Grimston; 1843 - 1917)and Madge Sholto Robertson (1848 - 1935), who married in 1869;thereafter they excelled in comedies and also managed St James's Theatretogether (from 1879). Madge Kendal, a lifelong rivalof Ellen Terry, was more brilliant and popular than her husbandand had a wider range, sometimes playing such classical roles as Ophelia(1865).

    In 1887 the Kendals gave a command performance for Queen Victoriaat Osborne house on the Isle of Wight, when they played in W. S. Gilbert'scomedy Sweethearts. The Queen rewarded Madge with a broochshaped like the royal crown made of diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.

    The Kendals retired together in 1908, Madge being made a DBEin 1926. On her 80th birthday she recorded As You Like It forthe BBC. The director politely pointed to the microphone and said,"and that, dame Madge, is your Orlando". She returneda gracious smile and shook her head, "Ah, my husband was better-lookingthan that".