Matilda Agnes Heron (1830-1877) was a popular mid-19th century actress in the United States, best known for her role in the play "Camille."
Born in Ireland in 1830, Heron emigrated to the United States in 1842, and lived in Philadelphia. Starting in 1851 she began appearing professionally in plays. In 1853 she traveled to California and gained popularity. In 1854, she was married to lawyer Henry Herbert Byrne in San Francisco, but the union lasted but a few months. Her brother was shipper, Alexander Heron Jr.
While in Paris in 1855, Heron saw the popular play La Dame aux camélias (The Lady of the Camellias), and decided to present her own version, in English, in America. The resulting "Camille", for which she is best known, had its New York debut in January 1857 at Wallack's Theatre. Edward Askew Sothern played the role of the lover. Of her role in Camille, prominent theater critic William Winter later wrote: "Other parts she acted; that one she lived." She was known for her emotional style of acting.
In 1857, Heron wed composer Robert Stoepel (they separated in 1869). During the 1861-1862 season Heron wrote "The Belle of the Season" and starred in it at the Winter Garden. In 1863, she gave birth to a daughter, Helen Wallace Stoepel, better known as Bijou Heron, who became an actress herself. By the late 1860s, and as her health began to wane, Matilda Heron receded from the spotlight and taught acting. A big benefit show was done to raise funds for her in January 1872, which included Edwin Booth, Jules Levy, John Brougham, and Laura Keene.
She died in New York City on March 7, 1877. Her reported last words were "Tilly never did harm to anyone - poor Tilly is so happy."