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Given London’s reputation for theatre (and film) it is surprising so few actors have a statue to them. Of course, a film actor’s true memorial are the films he or she has made but stage actors often have a more ephemeral life and dancers even more so.

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Stage and Screen

Sir Charlie Chaplin

Chaplin’s Tramp character featured in the first movie trailer to be seen in a US movie theater in 1914. Born in South London, he had a string of affairs, married two under-age girls, and had 11 children. This statue is by John Doubleday (see his Sherlock Holmes near Baker Street Tube station).

Leicester Square WC2
Tube: Leicester Square

Sir Henry Irvine

The inspiration for Bram Stoker’ Count Dracula, Irvine was the first actor to be knighted. Noted for his performances of Hamlet, he left his wife when she criticised his choice of career just before his breakthrough performance. The equally famous actress Ellen Terry was his later companion.

Irvine Street WC2
Tube: Leicester Square

David Wall

Jeté (1975) by Enzo Plazzotta is modelled on the dancer David Wall. Now a Ballet Master for English National Ballet, this statue shows him as one of the best dancers of his generation. The redheaded Wall danced regularly with Doreen Wells and Dame Margot Fonteyn.

Millbank W11
Tube: Pimlico

Sir Laurence Olivier

Perhaps the greatest actor of the 20th century had 14 Oscar nominations and two wins (both for the 1948 film Hamlet). When he died in 1989, his remain were laid in Westminster Abbey, where some of the people he has portrayed also lie, including King Henry V and Air Chief Marshal Hugh Dowding.

South Bank
Tube: Waterloo

Sarah Siddons

The actress Sarah Siddons (1755–1831) - herself an amateur sculptor - is immortalised as the tragic muse after a painting by Reynolds. Famous for the role of Lady Macbeth, she was also the first woman to play Hamlet. Often painted, there is also a statue of her in Westminster Abbey.

Paddington Green W2
Tube:Edgware Road/Paddington

Anna Pavlova

Pavlova made her London debut at this theatre and a statue was put in place on the roof in 1911, although the superstitious prima donna  refused to look at it. It is hard to see – it is very high. The original was taken down during World War II for safekeeping but was lost. This replica dates to 2006.

Victoria Palace Theatre SW1
Tube: Victoria

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