Bancroft, Marie Effie Wilton, Lady, 1839–1921, English actress and manager. She made her debut (1856) at the Lyceum Theatre, London, and in 1865 became joint manager of the Prince of Wales's Theatre, London, with Sir Squire Bancroft, 1841–1926, whose entire name was Squire Bancroft White Butterfield. They were married in 1867. With their production of Caste in the same year, the Bancrofts, as co-stars, began an association with its author, Tom Robertson, that was to prove most successful. Their presentations of his plays, which were more true to life than the current melodramas, and their utilization of the reforms of Mme Vestris introduced realism to the 19th-century English stage. They continued their work at the Haymarket theater in London (1880–85). The Bancrofts appeared together until 1886, when Mrs. Bancroft retired. Squire Bancroft was knighted in 1895.
See their joint memoirs, Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft, on and off the Stage (1888) and Recollections of Sixty Years (1909).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.