8th March 1931

Singer and actress Alma Stanley dies in prison

St Helier-born Lenore Alma Stuart Stanley, better known as Alma Stanley, was a singer, dancer and actress whose stage debut, at the age of 18, took place in Milan. She appeared in London the following year, kicking off a career that many would describe as glittering, in some of the finest theatres in Britain and the US.

By the time she turned 26, that career had taken her to New York where she worked on Fifth Avenue, and later took the lead in Carmen. By 1883, then aged 29, she returned to London where she did most of her work for the next two decades. Audiences saw her at the Adelphi, Gaiety, Strand and Drury Lane Theatres, although she returned to New York, briefly, in 1886.

However, much is unknown. There’s talk of her marrying several times, although only one husband is known of, and that marriage lasted less than two years.

A sad end

From time to time she also had financial difficulties, which returned following her retirement when she was living on a pittance in a London flat. Her decline had been remarkable. Once one of the most famous actors on the London stage, she was picked up for being drunk and incapable in public in February 1931 and taken to Holloway prison. Just over a week later, she collapsed and was taken to the prison hospital where, on 8 March, an inquest ruled that she died of bronchitis exacerbated by her alcoholism.


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