1830 – 1877 A.D.
Matilda Heron, an American actress, born in Londonberry, Ireland, emigrated with her parents in 1842, and settled in Philadelphia. Ten years later she appeared at the Bowery Theatre, New York, as Lady Macbeth, Juliet, Parthenia and in other parts, and her success was immediate. In 1885 she played for the first time Camille, the part with which her name is identified, and which was always the principal feature of her repertory.
Toward the end of her life, she became very poor, and a performance for her benefit occurred at Niblo’s Garden in 1872, in which Edwin Booth, Laura Keene, Fanny Janauschek and others participated.
William Winter says:
“Matilda Heron, as an actress, was at her best in the part of Camille. Other parts she acted; that one she lived. She radiated a force of magnetic emotion which it was impossible to resist. She loved the storm and revelled [sic] in the frenzy of a nature at war with itself. That kind of nature, unless curbed by dominant intellect and regulated by strong moral sense, inevitably breaks all the bounds of reason, convention, and a serene life. Matilda Heron’s career was gloriously bright for a while, and then dark with trouble and sorrow. She was a magnanimous, great-hearted, loving woman, and she was one of the most potent elemental forces in the histrionic vocation that have ever been exerted on the American Stage.”
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.