The name of the Rev. Vyapuri A. Subramaniam was misspelled in his obituary Saturday, as was the name of his son, Vaiyapuri Subramaniam. (Published 6/18/91)
Dame Peggy Ashcroft, 83, who reigned for years as Britain's greatest stage actress and then reached international audiences with celebrated performances on film and television, died yesterday at Royal Free Hospital in London. She never regained consciousness after suffering a stroke on May 23.
Intellectual, passionate, driven to seek perfection and animated by a love of language, Miss Ashcroft was a leading interpreter of Shakespeare and the other classics of the English stage. She was equally renowned for her work in the plays of such modern masters as Henrik Ibsen, Anton Chekhov, Harold Pinter, Samuel Beckett and Edward Albee.
Critics called her "the sweetest Juliet of our time" and said she made the girl's thoughts more than "natural" -- she made them seem "inevitable." Sir John Gielgud, with whom she appeared in many memorable productions, compared her to the legendary actress Ellen Terry in these words: "She has the same kind of shimmering radiance and irridescence and a kind of forthright, trusting quality: I know of no other actress with quite that gift."
Harold Hobson, describing Miss Ashcroft's performance as Catherine Sloper, the betrayed spinster in Henry James's "Washington Square," declared that "superlatives seem pale and feeble things." He then went on to say that "in her hands, the tragedy of this unloved girl became one of the theater's most moving experiences."
In 1954, Miss Ashcroft played the title role in Ibsen's "Hedda Gabler" in Oslo, moving Aftenposten, Norway's leading newspaper, to say, "It is curious to have to register the fact that an English actress has shown the Norwegian public how Hedda should be played." King Haakon of Norway personally awarded her the King's Gold Medal.
In 1956, Queen Elizabeth II created Miss Ashcroft a Dame of the Order of the British Empire. She thus received the female equivalent of the royal honors bestowed on such colleagues as Gielgud, Laurence Lord Olivier, Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Alec Guinness.
Miss Ashcroft believed that working with a company whose members were more or less permanent offered "the only hope of reaching perfection in our theater." But whether or not she was in an ensemble production, the London stage was the center of her professional life -- for example, she made just two appearances on Broadway and one in Washington. In 1960, she joined the fledgling Royal Shakespeare Company and remained with it until she retired in 1982.
Thus it was that in a career that spanned more than six decades, she made only nine films and a few television appearances. Happily enough, they brought her enormous talents to an audience far larger than any she could reach from the stage.
In 1984, she played Mrs. Moore in "A Passage to India," David Lean's film based on the E.M. Forster novel, and for this she won the Academy Award for best supporting actress. In the same year, she played the missionary, Barbie Batchelor, in "The Jewel in the Crown," the British television series based on "The Raj Quartet," the Paul Scott novels about the British in India.
The series was shown on public television in the United States, and Miss Ashcroft was nominated for an Emmy. John Leonard, a critic for New York Magazine, said it was "the best acting I have seen on TV, including Olivier as Lear."
Edith Margaret Emily Ashcroft was born in Croydon, England, on Dec. 22, 1907. Her father was William Worsley Ashcroft, a real estate agent who was killed in action in World War I. Her mother was the former Violet Maud Bernheim, an amateur actress.
As a child Miss Ashcroft was fascinated by the sound of words and began learning poems. She was encouraged by her mother, who had studied with Elsie Fogerty, the founder of the Central School for Speech Training and Dramatic Art, now the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Miss Ashcroft decided on a stage career because she loved Shakespeare and because, as she told Michael Billington, her biographer, "I think it was that I discovered it was very exciting to become someone else." She attended the Central School, and when she graduated, she shared its gold medal with Olivier for their performances in "The Merchant of Venice."
Miss Ashcroft made her professional debut on May 22, 1926, in Birmingham, England, in J.M. Barrie's "Dear Brutus." She made her London debut the next year in the Restoration comedy "The Way of the World" by William Congreve.
Notable productions in her career included "Othello" in 1930, in which she played Desdemona opposite Paul Robeson; "Romeo and Juliet" in 1932 in Oxford, and later in London with Gielgud as director and with Gielgud and Olivier alternating in the roles of Romeo and Mercutio; "The Seagull" in 1936, in which she appeared with Olivier and Dame Edith Evans under the direction of Theodore Komisarjevsky, who was her second husband, and in which she first realized the value of ensemble playing; and "The Wars of the Roses," the Royal Shakespeare production in 1963, in which she did a tour de force as the mad Margaret of Anjou and aged 35 years in the course of 10 hours on stage.
In addition to "A Passage to India," Miss Ashcroft's films included "The Thirty-Nine Steps," the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller of 1935; "The Nun's Story" in 1951; "Sunday, Bloody Sunday" in 1971; and "Joseph Andrews" in 1976.
Miss Ashcroft's marriages to Rupert Hart-Davis in 1929, to Komisarjevsky in 1934, and to Jeremy Nicholas Hutchison in 1940, ended in divorce.
Survivors include two children from her third marriage, Liza, who lives in France, and Nicholas, a theatrical director who lives in Canada; and several grandchildren.
BETTY J. FOY
National Gallery Aide
Betty J. Foy, 71, a retired executive secretary who served three directors of the National Gallery of Art, died of cancer June 13 at the Hospice of Northern Virginia. She lived in Arlington.
Mrs. Foy retired in 1981 after 33 years with the gallery. During that period she was executive secretary to directors David Finley, John Walker and J. Carter Brown.
Until 1989, she was executive secretary to Paul Mellon, a leading benefactor of the gallery and its former chairman and president.
Mrs. Foy was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. She moved to Washington in 1942 and worked as a secretary with the Navy Department before joining the gallery.
She was past president of the Pilot Club of Northern Virginia, a charitable group, and belonged to the Seton Guild and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church of Arlington. She also was a member of several singing groups, including the Wesleyan Singers.
Her husband, Martin J. Foy, died in 1957.
She is survived by two sisters, Mary M. Welker of Washington and Sister Davida Morgan of Dallas, Pa.; and three brothers, David C. Morgan Jr. of Temple Hills, James E. Morgan of Springfield and Donald F.J. Morgan of Vienna.
VAIYAPURI A. SUBRAMANIAM
The Rev. Vaiyapuri A. Subramaniam, 85, a retired minister and district superintendent for the Methodist Church in Malaysia, died of respiratory failure June 13 at Montgomery General Hospital. A resident of the Washington area since 1987, he lived in Takoma Park.
Mr. Subramaniam served the Methodist Church for 50 years, in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Sereban, Malaysia, and in Dayton, Ohio, and Lewisburg, W.Va. He was a senior minister and schoolmaster as well as district superintendent.
He settled in this country in 1970 and retired six years later.
Mr. Subramaniam was born in Erode, India. He attended college in Ipoh, Malaysia.
He was a Mason and belonged to Fairhaven United Methodist Church in Darnestown and Grace United Methodist Church in Takoma Park.
His wife, Mary Jeyamoney Kamalam Subramaniam, died in 1984.
He is survived by six children, Vasuki Poore of Kuala Lumpur, the Rev. Sivaji Subramaniam of Dayton, Dhevaji Subramaniam of Darnestown, Vasanthi Line of Brighton, England, Jayanthi Norden of Vienna, Austria, and Vyapuri Subramaniam of Silver Spring; 10 grandchildren, and six great-grand-children.
CECILIA O'DEA KROGMANN
Cecilia O'Dea Krogmann, 94, a musician and music teacher, died of pneumonia June 13 at her home in Bethesda.
Mrs. Krogmann, who played the piano and organ, performed and taught here for more than 70 years. Her early work was with the Radcliffe Chautauqua in the mid-Atlantic states and the Hendley Casper School of Music in Washington. During the 1920s she was an accompanist for silent movies in the theaters of downtown Washington.
She later taught privately and played in churches.
From 1941 to 1962, she also was a clerical worker for agencies of the federal government, including the Office of Censorship, the Veterans Administration and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.
Mrs. Krogmann was born in Washington and attended Notre Dame Academy.
She taught for the Douglas Hyde Society at the Gaelic School and at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Institute, both in Washington. From 1972 to 1984, she was a chapel organist at Suburban Hospital.
Mrs. Krogmann was a member of St. Jane de Chantal Catholic Church in Bethesda.
Her husband, Rudolph Krogmann, died in 1962.
She is survived by two children, Cecilia Rounds of Bethesda and David Krogmann of West Lafayette, Ind.; 10 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
JAMES RUDOLPH TINSLEY
James Rudolph Tinsley, 67, a self-employed roofer, died of respiratory failure June 12 at Doctors' Hospital of Prince George's County.
Mr. Tinsley, who lived in College Park, was born in Staunton, Va. He moved to the Washington area in 1940 and served in the Army in Europe during World War II.
He returned to the Washington area after the war and had worked since then as a self-employed roofer.
Survivors include his wife, Nellie Tinsley of Hyattsville; three daughters, Jackie Johnson and Peachie Brickey, both of Verona, Va., and Sherrie Bell of Laurel; five grandchildren; and two great-grand-children.