Violet Vanbrugh

Picture Violet Vanbrugh

1867 - 1942

The actress Violet Vanbrugh was born as Violet Augusta Mary Barnes in Exeter. She was one of three children and all of them, Violet herself, her sister Irene and her brother Kenneth became actors.

She made her stage debut in 1886 with the play "Faust and Loose" at the Toole's theater. In the next years followed numerous engagements and she appeared in dramas as well as comedies. Beside it she refined her acting abilities by Sarah Thorne.

Violet Vanbrugh became a very impressive actress within few months who also convinced with Shakespeare roles. It followed a tour to the USA, among others she appeared in the play "A Scrap of Paper" in New York in 1889.

When she returned to England in 1891 she achieved huge popularity with the play "Anne Boleyn" at the Lyceum theater of Henry Irving. Onther demanding roles followed in "King Lear" and "Beckett". In those years she became established as a great actress who took part in countless plays.

In 1893 she met the actor Arthur Bouchier and they got married. When Bouchier took over the direction of The Royalty in 1895 she followed him and impersonated the leading roles there.

Violet Vanbrugh and Arthur Bouchier were able to set impressive theater productions up at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1910 she acted in Sir Herbert Tree's "King Henry VIII", one year later Sir Herbert Tree adapted the play for cinema and Violet Vanbrugh made her film debut with "Henry VIII" (11).

But the film kept a sideline in her career, two years later followed her last silent movie "Macbeth" (13).
The outbreak of World War I didn't much influence her career and she appeared regularly on stage. But her marriage broke in those years, in 1916 they separated, two years later followed the divorce.

18 years after her last appearance in front of the camere she made a comeback in 1931 with "Captivation" (31), it followed the movies "Joy Ride" (35), "Pygmalion" (38) and "Young Man's Fancy" (40).

Her daughter Prudence Vanbrugh became also an actress.