Thursday, May 5, 2016

Alicia Ramsey (1864-1933)

Née Alice Joanna Royston
Aka Alice Ramsey
Author, Playwright, Screenwriter
Born August 31, 1864, Chelsea, London, England
Died May 7, 1933, London, England

Alice Joanna Royston was born on August 31, 1864, in Chelsea, London, England, the daughter of hotelkeeper William Haylett Royston and Isabel Morgan Harris Royston. Mrs. Royston was a writer like her daughter after her and the author of a comedy called No Irish Need Apply. Alice was educated at Oxford College and in Paris. In addition, she studied music in Leipzig with the intention of becoming a pianist. In 1891, in Kensington, she married actor Cecil Ramsey (1866-1914), born Sanderson Henry Walker. Their son, Guy Haylett Walker (1900-1959), later known as Guy Ramsey, was also an author.

Cecil Ramsey died in 1914. On September 14, 1916, at her sister-in-law's home in New York City, Alice, then calling herself Alicia Ramsey, married Jamaican-born writer and actor Rudolph de Cordova (1859-1941). The two had been collaborating in their writing for the previous twenty years. Rudolph de Cordova, by the way, was the brother of actor and director Leander de Cordova (1877-1969).

Alicia Ramsey got her start writing for the stage with a work called Only a Model, produced in 1892. She and de Cordova began working together in or about 1896. As movies came into their own, Alicia began writing screenplays, in the United States for Famous Players-Lasky Corporation and Vitagraph and in Britain for Gaumont British and Stoll Picture Productions. She also wrote a number of books, plus short stories for Ainslee'sArgosyNovel Magazine, The Smart Set, Snappy Stories, and Young's. Her lone story for Weird Tales was "The Black Crusader," from January 1926.

Alicia Ramsey died on May 7, 1933, in London, at age sixty-eight.

Novels
The Adventures of Mortimer Dixon (1913)
Miss Elizabeth Gibbs (1915)
The Three Cocktails and Other Stories (posthumous, 1933)

Plays-A Partial List
Only a Model (1892)
The Executioner's Daughter with Rudolph de Cordova (1896)
Gaffer Jarge (1896)
Monsieur de Paris with Rudolph de Cordova (1896)
As a Man Sows with Rudolph de Cordova (1898)
Honor with Rudolph de Cordova (1896)
Byron (1908)
Bridge
The Earthquake with Rudolph de Cordova
The Guardian Angel
The Hand of Vengeance with Rudolph de Cordova
Isla the Chosen
The Mandarin with Rudolph de Cordova
The Password with Rudolph de Cordova
The Vigil of Sieur Ercildoune
Whom the Gods Love with Rudolph de Cordova

Screenplays
Eve's Daughter (1918)
The Two Brides (1919)
The Spark Divine (1919)
The Prince of Lovers (1922)
Rob Roy (1922)
Guy Fawkes (1923)
Young Lochinvar (1924)
The Money Habit (1924)
The Desert Sheik (1924)
The Love Story of Aliette Brunton (1924)
The Presumption of Stanley Hay, MP (1925)
King of the Castle (1925)
One Colombo Night (1926)

Alicia Ramsey's Story in Weird Tales
"The Black Crusader" (Jan. 1926)

Further Reading
Who's Who in the Theater, Volume 3, page 505, here.
For the best biography you're likely to find on any of the principals in this entry, see "Guy Ramsey" by Steve at the blog Bear Alley Books, dated January 14, 2010, here.

Alicia Ramsey and her husband Rudolph de Cordova in a photograph from the Library of Congress.

Text copyright 2016 Terence E. Hanley

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