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Mrs. Patrick Campbell

Mrs. Patrick Campbell
Born Beatrice Stella Tanner
9 February 1865
Kensington, London, England, UK
Died 9 April 1940 (age 75)
Pau, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, France
Other names Mrs Pat
Occupation Actress
Years active 1888–1935

Mrs. Patrick Campbell (9 February 1865 – 9 April 1940), born Beatrice Stella Tanner and known informally as "Mrs Pat", was an English stage actress.[1]


  • Early life and marriages 1
  • Stage career 2
  • Relationship with George Bernard Shaw 3
  • Famous quote 4
  • Death 5
  • Legacy 6
  • Films 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life and marriages

Campbell was born Beatrice Stella Tanner in Kensington, London, to John Tanner and Maria Luigia Giovanna, daughter of Count Angelo Romanini. She studied for a short time at the Guildhall School of Music. During her first marriage, from which she took the name by which she is generally known, she gave birth to two children, Alan "Beo" Urquhart and Stella, and ended with the death of her first husband in the Boer War in 1900.

Fourteen years later, Campbell became the second wife of soldier previously married to Jennie Jerome, the mother of Sir Winston Churchill. Notwithstanding her second marriage she continued to use the stage name "Mrs Patrick Campbell".

Stage career

Mrs Patrick Campbell

Beatrice Tanner made her professional stage debut in 1888 at the Alexandra Theatre, Liverpool, four years after her marriage to Patrick Campbell. In March 1890, she appeared in London at the Adelphi, where she afterward played again in 1891–93. She became successful after starring in Sir Arthur Wing Pinero's play, The Second Mrs Tanqueray, in 1893, at St. James's Theatre where she also appeared in 1894 in The Masqueraders. As Kate Cloud in John-a-Dreams, produced by Beerbohm Tree at the Haymarket in 1894, she had another success, and again as Agnes in The Notorious Mrs. Ebbsmith at the Garrick (1895).

Among her other performances were those in

  • Mrs. Patrick Campbell at the Internet Broadway Database
  • Mrs. Patrick Campbell at the Internet Movie Database
  • Archival material relating to Mrs. Patrick Campbell listed at the UK National Archives
  • Mrs Patrick Campbell photo gallery at NYP Library
  • Mrs. Patrick Campbell collection at University of Victoria, Special Collections
  • 1915PygmalionMrs Patrick Campbell in
  • Mrs. Patrick Campbell University of Washington, Sayre collection

External links

  • My Life And Some Letters by Mrs Patrick Campbell.
  • Walkley, Drama and Life (London, 1907)
  • Shaw, Dramatic Opinions (London, 1907)
  • Archer, The Theatrical World (London, 1897)
  • Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence edited by Alan Dent (Alfred A Knopf, 1952)

Further reading

  1. ^ a b "Mrs. Campbell, 75, Famous Actress".  
  2. ^ Mrs. Pat: The Life of Mrs. Patrick Campbell by Margot Peters, 1984 Alfred A. Knopf, pp. 179-81, 183
  3. ^ The Truth About Pygmalion by Richard Huggett, 1969 Random House, pp. 20-27
  4. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. p. 307
  5. ^ The Truth About Pygmalion, ibid. pp. 183-87
  6. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 364-67
  7. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp 379-82
  8. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 397-98
  9. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 422-25
  10. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 139-40
  11. ^ Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell: Their Correspondence edited by Alan Dent, 1952 Alfred A Knopf
  12. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 330-33
  13. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid., pp. 404-07
  14. ^ The Truth About Pygmalion, ibid. pp. 2-3
  15. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. pp. 369-78
  16. ^ Alan Dent (1961) Mrs. Patrick Campbell, p. 78
  17. ^ Mrs. Pat, ibid. p. 462



A note book belonging to Campbell is housed at the University of Birmingham Special Collections Department. Several collections of Campbell's correspondence, including her letters to Shaw (MS Thr 372.1), are part of the Harvard Theatre Collection at Houghton Library, Harvard University.


[17] She died on 9 April 1940 in


Campbell was infamous for her sharp wit. Her best-known remark, uttered upon hearing about a male homosexual relationship, was "My dear, I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the street and frighten the horses,"[16] although this remark has been attributed to others as well.

Famous quote

In later years, Shaw refused to allow the impoverished Campbell to publish or sell any of their letters except in heavily edited form, for fear of upsetting his wife Charlotte Payne-Townshend and the possible harm that the letters might cause to his public image.[15] Most of the letters were not published until 1952, two years after Shaw's death.

In 1914, she played Eliza Doolittle in the original West End production of Heartbreak House In the late 1890s Campbell first became aware of

From a portrait by Hugh de T. Glazebrook

Relationship with George Bernard Shaw

A couple of "Mrs Pat"'s later significant performances were as the title role in the 1922 West End production of Henrik Ibsen's play Hedda Gabler[7] and Mrs. Alving in the "Ibsen Centennial" (1928) staging of Ghosts (with John Gielgud as her son Oswald).[8] Her last major stage role was in the Broadway production of Ivor Novello's play A Party where she portrayed the cigar-smoking, pekinese wielding actress "Mrs. MacDonald" — a clear takeoff on her own well known persona — and made off with the best reviews. In her later years, Campbell made notable appearances in films, including One More River (1934), Riptide (1934), and Crime and Punishment (1935). Her tendency, however, to reject roles that could have vitally helped her career in later years caused Alexander Woollcott to declare "...she was like a sinking ship firing on the rescuers".[9]

[6][5] playing Higgins. She successfully played Eliza again in a 1920 London revival of the play.Philip Merivale, she triumphed and took the play to New York and on tour in 1915 with the much younger Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree Although forty-nine years old when she originated the role opposite the Henry Higgins of [4][3]), the Serpent (Back to Methuselah), etc.).[13] When Anthony Asquith was preparing to produce the 1938 film of Pygmalion, Shaw suggested Campbell for the role of Mrs Higgins but she declined.[14]

Illustration for Pygmalion, depicting Mrs Campbell as Eliza

In 1900, "Mrs Pat", having become her own Manager/Director, made her debut performance on Broadway in New York City in Heimat by Hermann Sudermann, a marked success. Subsequent appearances in New York and on tour in the United States established her as a major theatrical presence in America. Campbell would regularly perform on the New York stage until 1933. Other performances included roles in The Joy of Living (1902), Pelléas et Mélisande (1904; as Melisande to the Pelleas of her friend Sarah Bernhardt), Hedda Gabler (1907), Electra (1908), The Thunderbolt (1908), and Bella Donna (1911).


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