Gabrielle Ray

'Gabrielle Ray said, 'I am always dancing; I love it! When I don't dance, I sing. What else is there to do?'

May Kinder




A marriage is reported to have taken registry office yesterday between Miss May Kinder and Mr. Henry J Delaval Astley, son of Lady Florence Willoughby. Miss Kinder made her at the Shaftesbury Theatre “The Arcadians,” and is now appearing in “The Dollar Princess” Daly’s Theatre. She is the daughter Mr. and Mrs. William Kinder, Philadelphia, U.S.A., who belong an old Quaker family. The bridegroom, who is 21 years of age, is, through his father, connected with the Barony of Hastings, and, through his mother, with the Marquisate of Conyngham.


The Nottingham Evening Post – Wednesday 27th October 1909



To historical students it would seem a far cry from the stern Puritan, Oliver Cromwell, to The Dollar Princess at Daly’s Theatre, but the association arises through the recent marriage of Miss May Kinder, a pretty actress at Daly’s Theatre, to Mr. Henry Astley, a member of the Russell-Astley family, whose coming of age a few months ago was celebrated with great festivities at Chequers Court in Buckinghamshire, the hereditary seat of the family. The Astleys do not now live at Chequers Court but they did so for two centuries, and they formerly possessed there all the most interesting memorials of Cromwell that have come down to us. Cromwell’s daughter, Frances, married a Russell hence the interesting association. Miss Kinder is an American from Philadelphia. In The Merry Widow she was understudy to Miss Gabrielle Ray in The Dollar Princess she has been playing the part of Dulcie Du Cros, the Californian girl. Mr. Astlev’s mother was of the Marquis Conyngham’s family, thus having a certain relation with Byron.


The Sphere – Saturday 6th November 1909

A Theatrical Marriage.


Miss May Kinder, whose portrait together with her husband, Mr. Henry Jacob Delaval Astlev, is given here, is a young American actress who until her marriage a few days ago was appearing under Mr. George Edwardes’s banner in The Dollar Princess at Daly’s Theatre. A short time ago, it will be remembered, Miss Kinder appeared as Chrysea in The Arcadians at the Shaftesbury, but she was only lent by Mr. Edwardes until the Daly’s new piece was ready. Her husband, who is only just twenty-one, is the son of Lady Florence Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby. It is not expected that Miss Kinder will return to the stage now that she is married, which item of news will certainly fill the hearts of London playgoers with regret. There are few so pretty and modest little actresses appearing in musical comedy as Miss May Kinder, and her charming personality and attractive singing voice will be greatly missed.


The Tatler – Wednesday 10th November 1909

May Kinder appeared in The Merry Widow as Zo-Zo in 1908 and understudied Miss Ray whose part, Frou Frou she played in September 1908. She later played the role of Dulcie du Cros, a Californian Girl in The Dollar Princess at Daly’s in September 1909. She resigned her role in The Dollar Princess soon after marrying Henry Astley on 29th October 1909. On 21st December 1912 Astley was killed whilst demonstrating flying at the Balmoral Show Grounds in Belfast. May inherited her husband’s substantial fortune including Chequers, her husband’s ancestral home which she later sold to Viscount Lee of Fareham who, in 1917, presented it to the nation as a country retreat for Prime Ministers (which remains in use today).


Frost, C. (2016) “The Female Stars of Musical Theatre in Edwardian England,” The Lavenham Press, Lavenham, Suffolk. (p172)


The Dollar Princess – Programme – 1909

Stage and Cromwell – The World’s News Sydney, NSW) – 1909





July 10, 2022 Posted by | Biography, Daly's Theatre, Gabrielle Ray, The Dollar Princess, The Merry Widow, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment