Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert - Encyclopedia

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MARIE DOLORES ELIZA ROSANNA ["GILBERT Lola Montez"] (1818-1861), dancer and adventuress, the daughter of a British army officer, was born at Limerick, Ireland, in 1818. Her father dying in India when she was seven years old, and her mother marrying again, the child was sent to Europe to be educated, subsequently joining her mother at Bath. In 1837 she made a runaway match with a Captain James of the Indian army, and accompanied him to India. In 1842 she returned to England, and shortly afterwards her husband obtained a decree nisi for divorce. She then studied dancing, making an unsuccessful first appearance at Her Majesty's theatre, London, in 1843, billed as "Lola Montez, Spanish dancer." Subsequently she appeared with considerable success in Germany, Poland and Russia. Thence she went to Paris, and in 1847 appeared at Munich, where she became the mistress of the old king of Bavaria, Ludwig I.; she was naturalized, created comtesse de Landsfeld, and given an income of £2000 a year. She soon proved herself the real ruler of Bavaria, adopting a liberal and anti-Jesuit policy. Her political opponents proved, however, too strong for her, and in 1848 she was banished. In 1849 she came to England, and in the same year was married to George Heald, a young officer in the Guards. Her husband's guardian instituted a prosecution for bigamy against her on the ground that her divorce from Captain James had not been made absolute, and she fled with Heald to Spain. In 1851 she appeared at the Broadway theatre, New York, and in the following year at the Walnut Street .theatre, Philadelphia. In 1853 Heald was drowned at Lisbon, and in the same year she married the proprietor of a San Francisco newspaper, but did not live long with him. Subsequently she appeared in Australia, but returned, in 1857, to act in America, and to lecture on gallantry. Her health having broken down, she devoted the rest of her life to visiting the outcasts of her own sex in New York, where, stricken with paralysis, she died on the 17th of January 1861. See E. B. D'Auvergne, Lola Montez (New York, 1909).

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