Margaret Webster

Margaret Webster

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Margaret Webster

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Margaret Webster (March 15, 1905 - November 13, 1972) was an American-born theater actress, producer and director. Through her parents, she held dual USA/UK citizenship.

Career

Margaret Webster was born in New York City, the daughter of two famous actors, Ben Webster and Dame May Whitty. She spent the early part of her career in England, where she became well known in the theatre. She worked for several established theatrical companies, including from 1929-1930 at the Old Vic.

She returned to the US in 1937 and began an impressive run directing the play, Richard II with Maurice Evans in the title role. They formed a partnership that lasted until 1942, with Webster directing Evans in Broadway productions of Hamlet, Twelfth Night and Henry IV, Part I. It was while she was directing Hamlet in 1938 that she began her long romantic relationship with actress Eva Le Gallienne.

When Evans joined the army, Webster continued to have success directing classical plays on Broadway, notably The Cherry Orchard (1944) starring Le Gallienne, and her greatest triumph, Othello (1943), starring Paul Robeson in the title role and Jose Ferrer as Iago, which ran for 296 performances, by far the longest run of a Shakespearean production on Broadway, a record that has not been remotely approached since. She also played the role of Emilia in the production.

In 1945, she staged the longest-running performance of Shakespeare's The Tempest ever to play Broadway, with Arnold Moss as Prospero, Canada Lee...
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