Richard Percy Berry, an aspiring actor in Edwardian London, married actress Marguerite Ackerman of Belgravia, the daughter of a famous opera singer. After a somewhat louche life, including running up gambling debts and an incident with a gun, Richard skipped the country to seek his fortune, promising to send for his family as soon as possible. He sojourned in the Far East before arriving in San Francisco. Virtually penniless, he hitched a lift to Canada where he joined the army, was shipped to Europe to fight in the Great War, where he came under gas attack at Ypres and was invalided out. Having changed his name, Richard Lee eventually arrived in Hollywood where he found minor roles in some of the early Chaplin films and, again, promised to send for his destitute family. The years rolled by without an invitation . . . These dramatic events from the past unfolded in a cottage on a Cornish moor when his granddaughter found a faded picture of Richard in an old scrapbook. Intrigued, she eventually, several years later, unlocked the secrets hidden in her grandmother’s memoirs – the story of the beautiful young wife and children left behind over one hundred years ago.
Softback archive photographs