|Born||in Blackheath, Kent, England, UK|
|Died||in London, England, UK|
|Birth Name||Winifred Ashton|
Mini Bio (1)
British novelist and playwright Clemence Dane was born Winifred Ashton in Kent, England, in 1888. A gifted student, she was educated in a variety of private schools and, at age 16, was hired to teach French in Geneva, Switzerland. A year later she returned to England and studied art for three years in London, and another year in Dresden, Germany, and showed promise as a portrait painter. However, she gave up her art career to accept a position as a teacher in Ireland. She left that position for a career as a stage actress, and did that for several years until World War I broke out. She plunged into war work and drove herself so relentlessly that her health broke down. While recuperating she wrote her first novel, "Regiment of Women", under the pseudonym Clemence Dane, a name she picked in honor of the famous London church of St. Clemence Dane (later destroyed in a German bombing raid in 1940).
"Regiment of Women" was an almost instant success. Her next novel, "Legend", was also successful, and several reviewers suggested that it should be turned into a play. She followed their advice, and the play, now called "A Bill of Divorcement", had a successful run on Broadway and the London stage with Katharine Cornell, and was made into a film several times, most notably with Katharine Hepburn and John Barrymore (A Bill of Divorcement (1932)). She alternated writing novels, plays and essays, and even wrote a personal and professional study of actor/writer Hugh Walpole.
She died in London, England, in 1965 at age 77.
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