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Cyril Keightley (1875–1929)

Mr. Cyril Keightley, the Australian actor, died here (New York) on Wednesday.

Mr. Cyril Keightley attracted attention on the Australian stage early in his career, before going abroad to take a prominent place in the London and New York theatres. Born in Wellington (New South Wales), 54 years ago, he studied in Adelaide for the Bar, but chose a theatrical career, and began it in Victoria in a company headed by Dan Barry. He then secured an engagement with George Rignold in Sydney, and was with him for five years, and then further developed his experience in the Brough and Boucicault and J. C. Williamson companies. Under the J. C. Williamson management, he appeared in many roles with Miss Nance O'Neil, Mr. Julius Knight, and other artists.

In this way Mr. Keightley, generally regarded as a sound actor, had already made a career for himself before he undertook a South African season, and in his twenty seventh year embarked for London. His first London appearance was at the Adelphi, as Max in Sudermann's drama "Magda," in a cast headed by Miss Nance O'Neil in the title role. Later he joined Sir Frank Benson as leading man, and was afterwards with Mr. Arthur Bourchier and other actor-managers in the West End theatres. His first visit to the United States, where he was eventually to become a prominent figure in the Broadway theatres, the centre of the profession in America, was made in 1908, in a play called "Love Watches," at the Lyceum, New York. He established his reputation so firmly in this field that for several seasons he made frequent voyages between London and New York, playing in important productions in the two cities.

Since 1914, he was continually engaged in New York, appearing in principal roles in a great series of dramas and comedies. He was leading man as Daniel Farr, K.C., when Miss Ethel Barrymore played the title role in the American production of Sutro's "Laughing Lady," at Longacre Theatre, New York. Other artists in this cast, well known in Australia, were Mr. Harry Plimmer, Mr. Kenneth Hunter, and Mr. Walter Howe.

Mr. Keightley's mother was the heroine of an episode dealt with by Rolf Boldrewood in his romance of the bushranging days, Robbery Under Arms. The family home was beseiged by Ben Hall's gang in October, 1863, and her husband, Mr. H. M. Keightley, stipendiary magistrate, was held for ransom. Mrs. Keightley thereupon rode to Bathurst, made known the facts, and saved her husband's life.

Original publication

Additional Resources

  • interview, Register (Adelaide), 7 November 1906, p 8

Citation details

'Keightley, Cyril (1875–1929)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 25 July 2024.

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