Vesey Alfred O’Davoren (Davoren) (Dublin, 8 December 1888 – LA, 30 May 1989), was a British soldier and film actor.
Davoren was a son of Vesey Henry William Davoren (1862–1944), an Irish surgeon, Major R.A.M.C., and Edith Anne, daughter of Alfred Hoyte, late Surgeon 61st Regiment. His parents had married in January 1888 and by 1915 they were living at Geeler House, Risbygate, Bury St Edmunds and Mrs Davoren was President of the local branch of the League of Pity. There is a Davoren Walk in Bury.
His father was educated at St. Paul’s School, London; Trinity College Dublin (TCD); and R.C.S.I. He qualified L.R.C.S.I., 1884 and L.R.C.P.I., 1886, and entered A.M.S. 1887. He was promoted Major, 1889 and retired 1907. He was Mayor of Bury St. Edmunds in 1912. He was re-employed during World War I at Bury St. Edmund’s and died at Redhill, 23 January 1944.
World War I
He enrolled in the British Army’s 7th Suffolk Regiment, under the command of Colonel Charles Douglas Parry Crooke. In October 1915 his Company (B) was massacred in action around the Hohenzollern Redoubt, just after the Battle of Loos.
The 7th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment’s War Diary, 13 October 1915, states that Davoren … was wounded [shot in foot and then side] in the action on the Hohenzollern Redoubt on 11 October, but continued to lead his Company until killed by a shot from a machine gun. Davoren was rescued, carried for two miles, by Sergeant-Major Martin, of Bury.
In his youth, as an undergraduate, before World War I he acted in Dublin’s Abbey Theatre. In the 1914–1919 war he was wounded thrice and was at one time reported dead. He temporarily lost his voice in a German mustard gas attack, and was given six months to live if he moved to a dry climate. He arrived in Hollywood, California, with his wife in 1920 where he acted in silent films before recovering his voice. He also directed plays and was in an early Hollywood Bowl production of The Pied Piper, taking the title role. He had changed his name to O’Davoren on arriving in America, on applying for U.S. Citizenship, perhaps aware of the romanticism of the Clann O’Dabhoireann and the American fondness for things Irish. Between 1927 and 1957, he appeared in circa 67 films, mostly as butlers.
Ivy Flossie ‘Madame’ de Verley, (Kingston, Jamaica, 27 July 1879 – Los Angeles, U.S.A., 27 December 1963, aged 84), daughter of Jamaican merchant Louis Francois Verley (1817–1901). She survived the November 1907 Kingston earthquake, though her first husband (she had married Richard Walter Bradley in 1905) was killed, they lived at lived at Bamboo Cottage, Kingston. A portrait painter. She was photographed by James McBey.
Involved with or conducted the Scarab Salon in London she was said to have studied with Sir William Orpen and Richard Jack, R.A. (1866–1952). She also studied in Berlin with Clara Berkowski (Königsberg, 1857–). She made portraits of, amongst others, Nola Luxford, Raymond Blathwayte (1855–1935), (journalist and film actor), James McBey, Alan Odle and Halliwell Hobbes. Some of her “Life Masks” were shown at the New York Independent exhibition (Raymond Blathwayte and James McBey), and at the Southwest Museum, the spring exhibition known as “Selected Work by Western Painters”, Los Angeles Museum, May 1922/1923.
She also exhibited at: Independents, NYC, 1924, Society of Independent Artists, the Waldorf-Astoria, New York, from 7 to 30 March, inclusive. and Salons of America.
Her works were in the collections of the: Civic Club, NYC; Orange Co. (CA) Museum Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA); Freelance Art League (LA), 1925; Pasadena Art Institute, Pasadena, 1928; Ebell Club (LA), 1920s (she was a member); Surf and Sand Club, Hermosa Beach, California, 1925; Friday Morning Club (LA), 1930.
They married on or by 15 January 1916, perhaps having met while he was in the Chelsea Hospital, London.
In 1922 she and Vesey had built a 2,500 square foot house in West Hollywood, California, in Hollywood’s Sunset Strip, near Beverly Boulevard and Sunset Las Palmas Studios, at 2049 North Las Palmas Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90068. It still exists.