February 3, 2010

Fanny Davenport, Actress

Fanny Lily Gypsy Davenport (1850-1898) was a well-known actress in the late nineteenth century. Born in London to Edward Loomis and Fanny Vining Davenport, who were both noted Shakespearean actors, she was the sister of actors Edgar Davenport and Harry Davenport. Fanny Davenport was educated in the Boston Public Schools, and appeared at the Howard Athenaeum in Boston, as the child of Metamora, at the age of seven. Davenport was successful as an actress, with a wide spectrum of roles that went from Shakespeare to French melodrama; she achieved fame by obtaining the American rights to the dramatist Victorien Sardou’s highly emotional plays. This photo from c.1880 depicts her as the spendthrift Lady Teazle in the comedy of manners “School for Scandal.” Her first husband was the actor Edwin B. Price, to whom she was married in 1879 and later divorced. She was the wife of Willet Melbourne MacDowell (later a silent movie actor), her second husband, to whom she was married in 1889. She died in Duxbury, Massachusetts. She was the aunt of actress Dorothy Davenport.

The Davenport monument is quite unique, as it is a white marble tree trunk on Arethusa Path.

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