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Old photographs of Actors, Actresses, Singers and Dancers - Movie Stars, Stage Stars, Hollywood Stars and the English Film Studios Film Stars - in high resolution.

Film Stars and Stars of the Stage in High Resolution - surnames beginning with P.

Edmund Payne - Singer, Comedian and Stage Actor.

This short biography was written by Edmund Payne's great grand-daughter - Lesley Elson, who also provided the two lower photos of her ancestor, and to whom I am very grateful.


Edmund James Payne was born on the 14th December, 1863 in Hackney, London. He commenced work in theatre at the young age of 14. By the age of 17 he was occupied as a Ticket Writer (1881 Census); unfortunately theatre is unknown. The first theatrical company he worked for was known as a “fit-up”; this meant that they toured around the country with their own scenery and fitted up the stage on location. His first known performance was in 1882 playing a snowball in the production of Robinson Crusoe at Market Harborough. He nearly lost his life due to an unfortunate accident involving stage lighting and a flammable costume. Edmund went on tour around the country with the Milton Rays Company, a theatrical company of the day, and it was on tour that he met his first wife Emily Saxon. In 1892 at the Prince’s Theatre, Bristol they both starred in the production of Dick Whittington; Emily as Dolly Dumpa and Edmund played Idle Jack. Emily and Edmund had four children, Emily born in 1889, Alice Ada Payne born in 1890, Edmund James born in 1895 and Harry born in 1898. During 1892, George Edwardes from the Gaiety Theatre engaged Edmund to play Mephistopheles in the revival of Faust Up-to-Date. Edmund was told to study the part as quickly as he could. He worked hard having no sleep at all and when it came to opening night he gave a very creditable performance. This was to be the start of a great career at the famous Gaiety Theatre. His next show was In Town which ran for over 250 nights. The next roles that Edmund played was in 1893 Don Juan, 1894 Mr Miggles in The Shop Girl, 1896 Biggs in The Circus Girl and in 1898 Flipper in A Runaway Girl.
It was noted that when Edmund rehearsed he always wore a pair of velvet shoes or had his own shoes covered in velvet. He was not living an extravagant life. After a successful first night he would go to ‘Gows’ a famous restaurant in the Strand and celebrate with a bottle of Guinness and two sausages. He would ride to the Gaiety Theatre from his home in Stoke Newington on a bike.
Some of his most famous performances are: The Messenger Boy in 1900, The Toreador in 1902, The Orchid in 1903, The Spring Chicken in 1905, The New Aladdin in 1906, The Girls of Gottenberg in 1907, Our Miss Gibbs in 1909, Peggy in 1911, The Sunshine Girl in 1912 and his last ever performance The Girl from Utah in 1913. Sadly in 1899 Emily died at the young age of 35. Edmund remarried in 1901 to Alice Mary Wyatt. They together had three more children. Mary Phyllis was born in November 1901 (my grandmother), Leslie Walter born in 1904 and Nora Marjorie born in 1906.

Edmund (Teddy) Payne in 1909 also starred in a film called The Gaiety Duet in which he starred with George Grossmith and Madge Melbourne. He made some recordings again with George Grossmith. Edmund wrote articles for newspapers especially The Penny Illustrated News where he would share with the readers his reminiscences of Musical comedy. In his private life he was a very keen cyclist and officiated at the 1908 Olympics in London. He was also President of The Unity Cycling Club.
Edmunds brother Fred Payne was also an actor but not in the same league as he was. In 1914 Edmund was taken ill and sadly died on Wednesday July 1st 1914. The cause of death was stomach cancer. He had an operation on June 5th 1914 to try and remove the tumour. His death was a great shock to the acting world as he was still quite young. It was reported all around the world as far as New York and made the front page of the Daily Mirror. He was buried at Abney Park Cemetery in Stoke Newington on Saturday 4th July along side his first wife Emily who died in 1899. It was reported from the newspapers of the time that the funeral was attending by a large crowd of people all wishing to pay their respects to a very talented and well loved actor. I obtained a copy of his will from the Probate Office in London and he left quite a small fortune for the time.

Actor, Edmund Payne

Comedian, Singer and Actor, Edmund Payne

Actor and Comedy Star - Edmund Payne

Actor and Comedy Star - Edmund Payne

Actor, Edmund Payne as Floot in The Sunshine Girl

Edmund Payne as Floot in The Sunshine Girl

When his great-grand-daughter Lesley visited Edmund's grave it was in need of some tlc, as the first image below shows, click on either image to see in high resolution.

Edmund, and Emily Paynes Grave, includes a memorial to their son Teddy killed in France 20th July 1919

Edmund and Emily Paynes' Grave; which includes a memorial to their son Teddy, killed in France 20th July 1917 aged 22. In fact, their son 'Teddy' had served in the 7th Battalion, The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), and was awarded one of the highest awards for bravery - The Military Medal - Teddy is actually buried in Bedford House Cemetery in Ieper, Belgium.

Edmund Payne's grave tidied up in Oct 2009

Edmund Payne's grave in Oct 2009 after being tended by the 'The Music Hall Guild', who now look after the grave.

Edmund Payne (1863-1914) - Singer, Comedian and Stage Actor. Born in England. Real name was Edmund James.

These wonderful people have given us so much pleasure, as they did to our families for over a century. These pages are dedicated both to the performers and to our ancestors.

the enti

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