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Wednesday, 2 December 2009
How The Lion In "The Lion & Albert" Got His Name

Marriott Edgar (1880-1951), born George Marriot Edgar in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, was a poet, scriptwriter and comedian best known for writing many of the monologues performed by Stanley Holloway, particularly the 'Albert' series. In total he wrote 16 Stanley Holloway monologues, whilst Holloway himself wrote only 5.

His parents were Jennifer nee Taylor, a native of Dundee, and Richard Horatio Edgar, only son of Alice Marriott, (Mrs. Robert Edgar), proprietor of the Marriott family theatre troupe; Richard had two sisters, Grace, and Adeline Marriott. All took their stepfather's surname, Edgar.

Richard and Jenny married in March 1875, with Richard being unaware that he had fathered an illegitimate namesake son, Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace, with his "honorary sister", widowed actress Mrs Mary Jane "Polly" Richards, after a brief sexual encounter when they were both extremely drunk at a back-stage party. Polly had invented an obligation in London to hide her pregnancy and give birth in secret. This son became the famous journalist, novelist, playwright and screenplay writer Edgar Wallace.

George Marriott Edgar was five years younger than his elder paternal half-brother. He was a talented performer, poet and writer in his own right, and excelled once he had joined up with Holloway. They went to Hollywood at the start of the 1930s, Edgar having dropped his first name for his "professional" appellation of Marriott Edgar. During the few months of 1931-1932, the two half-brothers, Marriott Edgar and Edgar Wallace encountered each other in Los Angeles. Wallace had learned of his paternal semi-siblings' existence from his niece, Miss A Grace Donovan, who was the only child of his only maternal semi-sibling, Polly Richards' daughter, Mrs Josephine Catherine Richards Donovan (1868-1894). However, there is only evidence of him definitely meeting Marriott Edgar.

When Marriott Edgar wrote his most famous The Lion & Albert monologue, he named the lion Wallace in what is now generally recognised to be a fraternal in-joke nod to his brother. Marriott outlived Edgar Wallace by 19 years.

Posted on 12/02/2009 9:04 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
2 Dec 2009
Send an emailMary Jackson

The Lion, or, Albert's nightmare on mane street here.

2 Dec 2009
Hugh Fitzgerald

Kirkcudbright has appeared only once before, amazingly, at NER, right here.

Albert, on the other hand, with or without the lion, has appeared many times, and the lion, with or without Albert, has also been a feline, one might say,  too frequent.