Biography of Edwin Booth
Famous American Biographies





EDWIN BOOTH had no peer upon the American stage during his long career as a star actor. He was the son of a famous actor, Junius Brutus Booth, and was born in 1833 at his father's home at Belair, near Baltimore. At the age of sixteen he made his first appearance on the stage, at the Boston Museum, in a minor part in "Richard III." It was while playing in California in 1851 that an eminent critic called general atten tion to the young actor's unusual talent. However, it was not until 1863, at the great Shakspearian revival at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York, that the brilliancy Of his career began. His Hamlet held the boards for 100 nights in succession, and from that time forth Booth's reputation was established. In 1868 he opened his own theatre (Booth's Theater) in New York. Mr. Booth never succeeded as a manager, however, but as an actor be was undoubtedly the most! popular man on the American stage, and perhaps the most emineht one in the world. In England he also won the greatest applause.

Mr. Booth's work was confined mostly to Shakspearean roles, and his art was characterized by intellectual acuteness, fervor, and poetic feeling. His Hamlet, Richard II, Richard III, and Richelieu gave play to his greatest powers. In 1865, when his brother, John Wilkes Booth, enacted his great crime, Edwin Booth re solved to retire from the stage, but was pursuaded to reconsider that decision. The odium did not in any way attach to the great actor, and his popularity was not affected. In all his work Mr. Booth clung closely to the legitimate and the traditional in drama, making no experiments, and offering little encouragement to new dramatic authors. His death occurred in New York, June 7, 1894.


FROM:
A Biographical Record
Of Schuyler County, New York
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
New York and Chicago 1903.


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