Edwin Booth: 19th Century America's Greatest Actor

Born today was Edwin Booth.

Don't conflate with brother John.*

Shakespearean thespian, in all truth,

Belongs in drama's pantheon.

File:Gramercy Park Edwin Booth statue.jpg

(Statue of Edwin Booth as Hamlet in New York's Gramercy Park)

*  In a eerie coincidence, two months before his brother John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln at the Ford Theatre in Washington, Edwin saved the life of Lincoln's son, Robert, at a crowded Jersey City train station. In Robert's words, "The incident occurred while a group of passengers were late at night  purchasing their sleeping car places from the conductor who stood on the station  platform. ... There was some crowding, and I happened to be pressed by it  against the car body while waiting my turn. In this situation the train began to  move, and by the motion I was twisted off my feet, and had dropped somewhat,  with feet downward, into the open space, and was personally helpless, when my  coat collar was vigorously seized and I was quickly pulled up and out to a  secure footing on the platform. Upon turning to thank my rescuer I saw it was  Edwin Booth, whose face was of course well known to me, and I expressed my  gratitude to him, and in doing so, called him by name." [Jacob della Quercia, cracked.com]


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  • my mind misgives
    Some consequence, yet hanging in the stars,
    Shall bitterly begin his fearful date
    With this night’s revels and expire the term
    Of a despised life, clos’d in my breast,
    By some vile forfeit of untimely death.
    -Shakespeare's Romeo

    Eerie indeed.

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