Edwin Booth – An American Hamlet

By | Jun 7, 2010

If it wasn’t for the fact that John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln, the most famous Booth would perhaps be his brother Edwin, an American Actor, who was born on November 13, 1833 near Bel Air, Maryland. Booth was the son of another actor, Junius Brutus Booth, who was also a famous actor of the 19th century.

Edwin Booth is considered the greatest American Actor of the 19th century, He performed in the plays of William Shakespeare throughout America and the major capitals of the World. Hamlet was his most famous role.

In a production of Julius Caesar in 1864 he appeared onstage with his two brothers John Wilkes, who played Mac Anthony and Junius Brutus Booth Jr, who played Cassius. Edwin had the role of Brutus. It was the only time they appeared onstage together.

In 1888 Booth founded the Players in New York City. During his life the Players used all but the upper floor of his house for the club for actors and others associated with the arts. In the title papers, it is stated that Edwin Booth should retain a furnished apartment for his own use where he could be left undisturbed as he wished.

His final performance was in his signature role of Hamlet, in 1891 at the Brooklyn Academy.

In his room of the Players Club, a room that remains as it was, that he died at 1 a.m. on a stormy night, June 7, 1893 at the age of 59. He is buried at Mount Auburn Cemetery, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


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