Great War Theatre

Kenelm Frederick Foss was born on 13 December 1885 in Croydon. He was an actor, playwright and film director and producer. Foss' father had hoped that his son would become an artist, and Foss studied art at the Wellesley School of Art and in Paris. However, in 1903 he made his first stage appearance at the Court Theatre under Granville Barker. From 1903-1907 he was at the Glasgow Repertory Theatre where he both acted and produced plays. Foss married Elizabeth Gilson, who was an actress, in 1907. They had six children, two of whom died in infancy. In that year Foss became manager of the Lyric Theatre in the Strand. G. K. Chesterton wrote the play 'Magic' for him. There is a caricature of Foss called 'Magic' which was made by 'Asstz' and published in 'Vanity Fair' on 17 December 1913. Foss also produced the first performance of 'The Cherry Orchard' in Western Europe. Just before the First World War he contracted tuberculosis. In 1915, Foss became a motion picture director, often working for Astra films. His tuberculosis returned and he resumed work in the theatre for a time. On 8 June, 1922 he went to New York. He produced a play on Broadway which starred John Barrymore. Foss collaborated with Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin on the 'Practical Course in Cinema Acting in Ten Complete Lessons.' Foss wrote and /or produced and directed more than seventy feature films of different lengths between 1915 and 1933 and was involved with the Britannia Film Company. He wrote 'Here Lies Richard Brinsley Sheridan' (1939) and 'Unwedded Bliss' (1949) a biography of J. M. W. Turner, as well as poetry and novels. In 1925 Foss opened a sandwich bar which featured sixty different sandwiches and was known as 'Sandys'. Fiss died on 28 November, 1963 in London. In 2005, Foss's daughter, Fanny Burney Foss (named after a distant ancestor) published a biography of her father, called 'Stage, Screen and Sandwiches: the Remarkable Life of Kenelm Foss.'

Gender: Male

Served in the armed forces? No