Marie Studholme

Marie Studholme
Marie Studholme

Marie Studholme, c. 1900
Born September 10, 1872(1872-09-10)
Stonehall, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England
Died March 10, 1930(1930-03-10) (aged 57)
London, England
Occupation Victorian and Edwardian musical comedy actress and singer
Spouse Harold Giles Borrett

Marie Studholme (10 September 1872 (commonly misreported as 1875) – 10 March 1930),[1] born Caroline Maria Lupton or Marion Lupton, was an English actress and singer known for her supporting and sometimes starring roles in Victorian and Edwardian musical comedy. Her attractive features made her one of the most popular postcard beauties of her day.

Studholme's theatre career spanned from 1892 to 1915. She was one of producer George Edwardes' famous Gaiety Girls and originated several roles in musical comedies. Studholme toured widely in the British provinces and abroad in shows that had enjoyed successful London productions, and she became extremely popular in the British provinces. She ended her career in music hall comedy sketches. After her retirement from the stage, she fostered a boy and adopted a girl.


Early life

Studholme was born in Stonehall, Eccleshill, Bradford, West Yorkshire, England, the only child of Joseph Ludholme Lupton, an auctioneer, and his wife Emma Greaves.[1] She was raised in Baildon by her mother, her paternal grandparents and in Shipley by her father's two half-sisters, one being Mrs. Frank Rhodes,[2] and educated at Salt Grammar School on the Saltaire mill estate.[3] She became interested in theatre while still at school.[1]


She joined her mother in London and started her stage career in 1891 at the Lyric Theatre in London. Charles Wyndham asked her to join his company at the Criterion Theatre in 1892. While appearing as Rhea Porter in the musical comedy Morocco Bound at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 1893, she met her future husband, actor Gilbert Porteous. During this performance she also caught the eye of the manager, George Edwardes, the leading promoter of musical comedy.[3] His chorus line of popular glamorous Gaiety Girls was a major box-office drawcard of the time, and they were presented as being more chaste and genteel than other performers of the "Naughty Nineties". Edwardes engaged Studholme to play the small role of Gladys Stourton in A Gaiety Girl (1893) at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and when the piece transferred to Daly's Theatre in 1894, she was promoted to the title role.

Studholme c. 1900

After that, she played a series of roles for Edwardes in London and on tour. She understudied Letty Lind as Daisy Vane in An Artist's Model, eventually taking over the role and recreating it in the New York production in 1895.[4] In 1897 she toured the United States with Edwardes' Gaiety company. She also appeared on Broadway in a revival of In Town in 1897.[5] Studholme succeeded Marie Tempest in 1899 in the title role of San Toy on tour in the British provinces. In 1900 she took over the role of Nora from Violet Lloyd in The Messenger Boy at the Gaiety Theatre, London, where she enjoyed great success with the wartime song hit, "When the boys come home once more".[1]

In 1901, she created the role of Dora Selby in the London production of The Toreador. She also created the role of Cicely Marchmont in The School Girl in 1903. In 1904, she played Josephine Zaccary in The Orchard, Part Two, in London[6] and the title role in a revival of The Geisha.[7] At Prince's Theatre, in Bristol, she appeared in San Toy in 1903-1904 and in Lady Madcap in 1905-1906.[8] The petite Studholme sometimes played juvenile roles, for example the title role in Alice in Wonderland in a West End revival in 1906.[9] In 1906-1907 in Southampton, she appeared in My Darling. She again took the title role in a 1906-07 revival of Lady Madcap[10] and then played Joy Blossom in My Darling (1907).[6] She starred in the title role in Miss Hook of Holland on a long provincial tour from 1907 to 1910. She then played Paulette in My Mimosa Maid.[11] Studholme toured in South Africa during 1910 to 1911.[1]

Studholme c. 1900

By 1913, Studholme was appearing in music hall comedy sketches, including one entitled "Her Ladyship", at the Wood Green Empire in London, and touring in variety shows. She had great success and popularity in the British provinces, and returned triumphantly to Bradford to perform at the opening of the town's Alhambra music-hall in 1914. Studholme retired from the stage in 1915.[1]

Personal life

Amidst the demands of a busy theatre schedule, Studholme found time in 1907 to study Jujitsu with Yukio Tani.[12] Her marriage to Porteous was short-lived. She was married again on 4 September 1908 to Harold Giles Borrett, the son of Major-General Herbert Charles Borrett, who courted her under an assumed name.[1] They produced no children. Studholme fostered Peter Lupino and then around 1916 adopted Jill (Granddaughter of Eardley Norton, former Attorney General of Madras), who was four years younger than Peter. Borrett was not fond of the children but he suffered them as he was dependent on Studhome's considerable wealth. He never worked.[13]

Studholme loved animals and was often photographed with them.[14] She reportedly charged a sixpence to autograph her postcards and gave the proceeds to animal and theatrical charities.[1] In 1904, Studholme brought and won a lawsuit against Edward Foley, a London dentist, who altered her photographic image for use in an advertisement without permission.[15] She converted to Christian Science and lived out her retirement in Hampstead and Laleham. Studholme Court, a council block, was later built on part of the site of the garden of Studholme's former Hampstead home, Croftway off the Finchley Road.[1]

Studholme died at her home in London in March 1930 from a short but virulent attack of rheumatic fever, at the age of 57, and was buried in the St Marylebone Cemetery in East Finchley, survived by her second husband and children.[3] She left an estate valued at £58,303.[1]

Selected performances



  • Gänzl, K. The encyclopedia of the musical theatre, 2nd edn, 3 vols. (2001)
  • Gänzl, K. The British musical theatre, 1 (1986)
  • Hunt, B. and J. Parker, eds. The green room book, or, Who's who on the stage (1906–09)
  • Reeve, A. Take it for a fact (1954)
  • Short, E. Fifty years of vaudeville (1946)
  • Waters, R. "Marie Studholme", Picture Postcard Annual (1994), pp. 14–17
  • The New York Times, 29 December 1895
  • The New York Times, 7 September 1897
  • Daily Chronicle, 12 September 1908
  • Obituary: Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 10 March 1930
  • Obituary: Bradford Telegraph and Argus, 13 March 1930
  • Obituary: The Era, 12 March 1930
  • Obituary: Hampstead Gazette, 14 March 1930
  • Obituary: Hampstead and Highgate Express, 15 March 1930
  • Obituary: The Stage, 13 March 1930
  • Obituary: Yorkshire Observer, 14 March 1930
  • Obituary: Yorkshire Observer, 8 May 1930

External links

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