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Leonora Bradley

Biography: 

(1855-1835)

Famous as the leading lady of the Castle Square Stock Company, Londoner Leonora Bradley ran away from home and family, bound for America at age fifteen. She almost immediately secured an engagement as a performer in "Black Eyed Susan" at a Baltimore theater. Her first substantial roles were played at the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia. She played variety at the Globe in New York City in 1876. During her ingenue years she itinerated greatly, sometimes in production companies, such as Oofty Gooft's "Under the Gaslight" troupe, at other times securing one or two season residences in playhouses in Denver, St. Louis, Brooklyn, and Boston.

Job security did not come until the years and experience enabled Bradley to play matron roles, a type in which she excelled. She was viewed by many as the definitive "Mrs. Malaprop" in Sheridan's "The Rivals." She could portray comically officious dowagers, domestic dragons, and worried wives with equal aplomb. In 1899 she attached to the Castle Square Stock Company. She retired in 1925, after a career spanning fifty years. David S. Shields/ALS