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Edith Wynne Matthison (November 23, 1875 – September 23, 1955) was an Anglo-American stage actress who also appeared in two silent films.
She was born on November 23, 1875, in England. Matthison was educated in King Edward's Grammar School and Midland Institute, England, and began at age 21 to appear in musical comedy, later joining Ben Greet's company, playing leading parts in The Three Musketeers and Money. She specialized in Shakespeare and classic drama almost from the start of her career. She was acting in the same play, The Merchant of Venice, with Sir Henry Irving the night he died. Irving nearly died in Matthison's arms. She appeared in Greek and mystery plays, old English comedies, and modern plays. In the United States in 1904 she appeared in Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer.
Matthison married the playwright Charles Rann Kennedy in 1898, acted in many of his plays, and advised him during their development. A happy couple who enjoyed a long marriage of 50 years, they had no children. They both taught at Bennett Junior College in Millbrook, New York. At one time her niece, Gladys Edith Wynne, was married to the stage and silent film star Milton Sills. Matthison died of a stroke in Los Angeles on September 23, 1955.
While playing the lead in her own The Princess Marries the Page at Vassar, Edna St. Vincent Millay was approached by Matthison, who, excited by the performance, came backstage to kiss Millay and invite her to her summer home. Millay felt great passion in the kiss and the two exchanged letters, providing one of her few known straightforward pronouncements of lesbian love: "You wrote me a beautiful letter,--I wonder if you meant it to be as beautiful as it was.--I think you did; for somehow I know that your feeling for me, however slight it is, is of the nature of love. . . . When you tell me to come, I will come, by the next train, just as I am. This is not meekness, be assured; I do not come naturally by meekness; know that it is a proud surrender to You.”
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