About Virginia Lilian Emmeline Compton Mackenzie
Fay Compton (/ˈkʌmptən/; 1894–1978) was an English actress from a notable acting lineage; her father was actor/manager Edward Compton; her mother, Virginia Bateman, was a distinguished member of the profession, as were her sister, the actress Viola Compton, and her uncles and aunts. Her grandfather was the 19th-century theatrical luminary Henry Compton. The novelist Compton Mackenzie was her brother.
Virginia Lilian Emmeline Compton Mackenzie was born in West Kensington, London, England. Compton made her first professional appearances between 1911 and 1913 with The Follies under the leadership of H. G. Pelissier, her future first husband, whom she married as a teenager. She made her mark in the several plays of J. M. Barrie (of Peter Pan fame) introducing him to London audiences, notably in the title role of Mary Rose in 1920. In 1926, she published reminiscences entitled Rosemary: Some remembrances.
Active in the classics as well as contemporary material, Compton had the distinction of playing Ophelia opposite two of the most celebrated Hamlets, John Barrymore and John Gielgud. In 1962 she appeared as Marya in Laurence Olivier's production of Uncle Vanya at Chichester Festival Theatre. This production was filmed.
Film and television
Compton's film work is not as well known as her stage appearances. She appeared in more than forty films between 1914 and 1970. Her most popular performances in films are Odd Man Out (1947), Laughter in Paradise (1951) Orson Welles' Othello (1952) and The Haunting (1963).
Among her television performances, she appeared in 1965 with Michael Hordern in the television play, Land of My Dreams by Clive Exton. One of her last major roles was as Aunt Ann in the BBC's 1967 television adaptation of The Forsyte Saga.
She had a successful career in the radio, television and gramophone recordings.
Distinguished figures such as Alec Guinness, John Le Mesurier, Jan Sterling, Sally Gray, Joe Mitchenson and Elton Hayes, developed their acting career in her "Fay Compton School of Dramatic Arts".
Fay Compton was married four times:
1.H. G. Pelissier; (one son: Anthony Pelissier)
2.Lauri de Frece; de Frece was Jerome Kern's best man at his wedding in 1910 at St Mary's Walton on Thames]
Her granddaughter is the British actress Tracy Reed.
Fay Compton died on 12 December 1978, in London, aged 84.
Rosemary, Some Remembrances (1926), by Fay Compton, introduction by Compton Mackenzie.
Fay Compton's Timeline
September 18, 1894
Kensington, Greater London, UK
December 12, 1978
London, Greater London, UK
<Daily Telegraph, December 13, 1978>
FAY COMPTON: an actress of high and varied gifts
FAY COMPTON, who has died aged 84, was a born actress of high and
She went straight from school on to the stage at the age of 16 without
She married at 17, the man who was at once the architect and the
Finally, at 18, she was left a widow and these events with their
But Fay Compton was not an ordinary girl. In spite of the shatterng
She was, in fact, the only member of Pelissier's unmatchable team
The lack of special stage training did not matter in her case, because
Her brother, Sir Compton Mackenzie, explained in his autobiography
Fay Compton's father, an actor, was therefore known as Edward Compton;
"Fay" came in when a younger sister could get no closer to Virginia
As her talents developedm she was seen to have remarkable versatility,
For this distinction she owed much to her acting ability but also not
This ran the whole gamut of inflexion; she used it with equal effect
In the 30s she played Shakespeare on many occasions at the Regent's
When the BBC asked leading actors and actresses in 1952 to nominate
A religious play staged in Westminster Abbey, this illustrated the
In 1959 she was at the Old Vic in "The Importance of Being Earnest";
In 1966, she was engaged by the BBC to appear in 26 episodes of "The
She declared: "Among the things I hate are people who have said all
She was married four times, to H.G. Pelissier (died 1913), by whom she