Actress Jean Clyde was born in Glasgow on March 17 1889, to Scots theatre producer/actor John Clyde and his wife Mary. Jean was one of six children.
Jean started acting at a very early age, five years, when she travelled with her Father’s touring company around Scotland. At age 19 Jean played the role of the ‘Bride’ in the play ‘Bunty Pulls the Strings’ a play for which she would become synonymous. The play was written in 1910 by Scottish actor and playwright Graham Moffat. The play was a massive hit in London’s West End, running for 617 shows at the Haymarket Theatre in 1911. Jean was to play the lead role of Bunty over 1,000 times in London, the UK, Africa and Australasia.
Jean married her co-star and leading man, David Urquhart, who played Weelum Sprunt in ‘Bunty’, In Halifax and together with fellow ‘Bunty’ co-star Bunty Abie Barker, formed a new touring company – The Bunty Comedy Company.
The trio toured both the UK and overseas for a period of two years performing a revue called “Sandy’s Wedding Present.’ In 1918, Jean travelled to America where she was to make her US stage debut in Philadelphia. In America she played in the ‘Little Brother’ with Richard Dix, Tyrone Power and Walker Whiteside.
In 1920, Jean returned to the family home in Helensburgh to care for her dying father before resuming her career. Several more roles and tours ensued. As a Scots woman, Jean ‘specialised’ in Scots parts and played many of the JM Barrie heroines, and also lead parts in ‘Hunky Dory’ and the ‘Scrape of the Pen’. In 1925, Jean starred in the play ‘Courting’ as Jeannie Grant, at the 49th Street Theatre on Broadway NY from September 12th to October 1st.
Jean returned to the stage until 1927 when she decided to retire. This was to be a short lived retirement as she was tempted to return to the greasepaint in the role of Mrs Pringle in a play called Marigold. In a similar vein to the role of ‘Bunty’, Jean was to appear in the play over 1000 times and toured extensively in it. The play was a huge hit in London, and the original cast took it on tour to the States and Canada. The Montreal Gazette, January 3rd 1931, was delighted that the London cast had chosen to perform ‘Marigold’ in Montreal, just as Jean had performed the role for the thousandth time, at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
Jean continued with her theatre career, turning her hand to production and staging. She married her second husband Bill McQuaid in 1934, following the tragic loss of her first husband.
Following Bill’s death in 1949, Jean returned to Helensburgh until her death in Rhu on 24th June 1962 aged 73.
Thanks to heroescentre.co.uk for their help with this information
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