Herbert Kelcey

Herbert Kelcey (October 10, 1856 – July 10, 1917) born Herbert Henry Lamb,[1] was an English-born American stage and film actor.

Herbert Kelcey
Kelcey in 1908
Herbert Henry Lamb

(1856-10-10)10 October 1856
Died10 July 1917(1917-07-10) (aged 60)
Resting placeSaint Anns Cemetery, Suffolk County Sayville, New York
Years active1877-1917
Spouse(s)Caroline Hill
Effie Shannon (speculative or possibly common law)


Born in 1856 in London, Kelcey made his stage debut at Brighton, England, in 1877 and had his first appearance in London in 1880. He came to New York and first appeared at Wallack's Theatre in 1882. He appeared in many society dramas. In the 1890s he formed a partnership with Effie Shannon that mimicked English husband-wife acting teams like the Bancrofts and the Kendals. In 1902 Kelcey became the second actor in history to play Sherlock Holmes after famed William Gillette.[2][3]


Kelcey was married to actress Caroline Hill from the 1870s to the early 1890s. Some film and theater sources claim he was later married to Shannon, whom he was in a theatrical partnership with, but there is no evidence they were ever married. Shannon had been married to Henry Guy Carleton from 1890-92 so she would've been free to marry Kelcey when they began their theatrical partnership. Kelcey died in 1917 and Shannon long outlived him. When she died in 1954 she was buried beside him in Saint Anns Cemetery in Sayville New York.[4]

Selected plays

  • The Silver King (1883)
  • The Moth and the Flame (1893)
  • A Coat of Many Colors (1897)
  • My Lady Dainty (1901)
  • Manon Lescaut (1901)
  • Her Lord and Master (1902)
  • Taps (1904)
  • The Daughters of Men (1907)
  • The Learned Ladies (1911)
  • Years of Discretion (1912)
  • Children of Earth (1915)
  • Pollyanna (1916)



  1. Vazzana, Eugene Michael. Silent Film Necrology, 2nd Edition, c. 2001, p. 279
  2. Truitt, Evelyn Mack. Who Was Who on Screen, 2nd Edition, c. 1977, p. 247
  3. Who Was Who in the Theatre:1912-1976, p.1,340 vol.3 I-P; compiled from annual editions originally published by John Parker, 1976-1978 editions by Gale Research
  4. Herbert Kelcey; findagrave.com
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