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Lillian Conway



Brooklyn-born Lillian Conway grew up in a theatrical family, and debuted on the stage of The Brooklyn Theatre playing a minor part in the burlesque "Evangeline" and then the tragic lead of Sheridan Knowles' "Virginius." Her greatest early success came playing blind Louise in "The Two Orphans." Her father F.R. Conway was the lessee of the house; her mother, Sarah, was an accomplished actress. After the death of both parents, she moved to Boston and performed two years at the Globe Theatre doing juvenile leads ("Broken Hearts," "Tom Cobb, or Fortune's Toy") before moving to Philadelphia for to sing at the Chestnut Street Theater.

While performing there she met and married Charles Camblos, a Philadelphia banker. She left the stage, had two children, until marital difficulties and Camblos' death in 1887 forced her back on the stage. She organized the Lillian Conway Opera Company and toured the provincial circuits until the enterprise collapsed--in part from the scandal that she shared hotel rooms with the troupe's unmarried business manager. She fell ill at which point the Actor's Fund intervened, financing her travel to London to seek treatment and live under the care of her sister Minnie. She died of rheumatic fever in London in June of 1896. David S. Shields/ALS