Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving

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Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving

Birthdate: (42)
Birthplace: London, United Kingdom
Death: May 29, 1914 (42)
NL, Canada
Immediate Family:

Son of Sir Henry Irving and Florence Irving
Husband of Mabel Lucy Irving
Brother of Henry Irving Brodribb Broadribb

Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:

About Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving

Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving (21 December 1871 – 29 May 1914)[1] was an English dramatist and novelist.

Born in London, Laurence Irving was a son of the great Victorian actor manager, Sir Henry Irving and his wife Florence (née O'Callaghan), and brother to actor manager Harry Brodribb Irving. He was educated at Marlborough College and the College Rollin in Paris, following which he was in Russia for three years studying for the Foreign Office. However, instead he took up acting, making his first appearance in 1893 in F. R. Benson's theatrical company (not counting childhood performances[2]). He went on to become a dramatist.[3] Due to the financial failure of one of Laurence's plays, his father was forced to sell the Lyceum Theatre, London. Irving was married to a fellow performer, actress Mabel Lucy Hackney (1880-1914).

Laurence and Mabel were on a tour of first Australia and then North America from 1912 to 1914. Their biggest success on the tour was Laurence's own play Typhoon which was a topical play set in the time of the Russo-Japanese War, with Laurence playing a Japanese officer.


Laurence and Mabel Irving later drowned in the RMS Empress of Ireland disaster on 29 May 1914. Reports in the news accounts of the tragedy say that they got separated and Laurence was in a position of temporary safety, but he knew Mabel could not swim and he jumped back into the St. Lawrence River to rescue her. Their bodies were never found.

He is not to be confused with the son of his older brother Harry Brodribb Irving, the set-designer Laurence Irving, who wrote the highly regarded and definitive biographies Henry Irving, the Actor and his World and The Successors.

Mabel Hackney and Laurence Irving are, without a doubt, the best-known passengers aboard the Empress of Ireland. Irving was a well-known stage actor. Mabel Hackney was his partner on stage and in life. Lawrence Irving’s production troupe was on a Canadian tour and gave its final performance at the Walker Theatre in Winnipeg on May 23. There was not enough time for the whole troupe to pack its bags in time for the Quebec City departure on May 28. Only Hackney and Irving, Harold Neville South and Elsie Roberts South, who were all in a hurry to return to England, managed to board the Empress of Ireland. The rest of the company boarded White Star’s Teutonic.

Neither Hackney nor Irving survived the sinking.

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Laurence Sydney Brodribb Irving's Timeline

December 21, 1871
London, United Kingdom
May 29, 1914
Age 42
NL, Canada