Mary Anne KeeleyMary Anne Keeley
English Actress
1806 – 1899 A.D.

Mary Anne Keeley, an English actress, born in Dublin, she went to London in 1825 and became a member of the Covent Garden Company, where she married the comedian Robert Keeley in 1829.

In 1838 she made her first great success in the part of Nydia, the blind girl, in The Last Days of Pompeii, and followed this with an equally striking impersonisation [sic] of Smike in Nicholas Nickelby.

The next year she achieved a triumph with her picturesque and spirited acting as the hero of a play founded upon Harrison Ainsworth’s Jack Sheppard. So dangerous was considered the popularity of the play, with its glorification of the prison-breaking felon, that the Lord Chamberlain ultimately forbade the performance of any piece upon the subject.

From 1844 – 1847 she and her husband managed the Lyceum, where their production of the Cricket on the Hearth ran for over a year.

The last forty years of her life were passed in retirement, though she occasionally appeared at benefits. On her ninetieth birthday, a public reception was given her at the Lyceum. In spite of the great age she attained, she preserved an altogether exceptional vigour [sic] and youthfulness of disposition.


Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.