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my little sister & the edwin forrest choir
my little sister & the edwin forrest choir
Published: 2012/05/10
Channel: victoria fichera
Edwin Forrest Day 2011
Edwin Forrest Day 2011
Published: 2011/05/04
Channel: actorsfundorg
WATERCOLOR INKS Edwin Forrest Ward
WATERCOLOR INKS Edwin Forrest Ward
Published: 2016/06/14
Channel: Edwin Ward
Elwynn Forest-Music
Elwynn Forest-Music
Published: 2010/06/30
Channel: TheWarcraftMovies
Forrest Elementary Talent Show
Forrest Elementary Talent Show
Published: 2016/06/10
Channel: Scott keaton
Forrest Shaw - Open Eyes (unfinished)
Forrest Shaw - Open Eyes (unfinished)
Published: 2015/10/01
Channel: Joseph Rosales
Edwin McCain
Edwin McCain ''go be young'' Forrest Gump
Published: 2011/02/21
Channel: ASKTclan
FORREST - Fuerte no soy ft. Natalia Aguilar (Cover de Intocable)
FORREST - Fuerte no soy ft. Natalia Aguilar (Cover de Intocable)
Published: 2016/10/19
Channel: FORREST
Small clip Forrest school graduation (we are the world)
Small clip Forrest school graduation (we are the world)
Published: 2014/08/15
Channel: Brianna walker
forrest tears by edwin emanuel posse
forrest tears by edwin emanuel posse
Published: 2017/06/29
Channel: emanuel Posse
The flowres of the forrest
The flowres of the forrest
Published: 2015/01/07
Channel: Various Artists - Topic
Forrest Shaw- Love Yourself (Cover)
Forrest Shaw- Love Yourself (Cover)
Published: 2016/01/22
Channel: Forrest Shaw
Forrest Shaw - I
Forrest Shaw - I'll Be
Published: 2011/07/08
Channel: SuperForrest12
A memorial tribute to Forrest Edwin Eder
A memorial tribute to Forrest Edwin Eder
Published: 2012/11/19
Channel: Clayton Stevenson
Solitude- Edwin McCain and Darius Rucker
Solitude- Edwin McCain and Darius Rucker
Published: 2011/07/06
Channel: resdog851
Forrest Elementary Winter Concert December 15, 2014
Forrest Elementary Winter Concert December 15, 2014
Published: 2014/12/18
Channel: Hampton Education Network
Teen discovers he
Teen discovers he's been a missing person for 13 years
Published: 2015/11/05
Channel: CNN
The Duck Song
The Duck Song
Published: 2009/03/23
Channel: forrestfire101
World of Warcraft - Music & Ambience - Elwynn Forest
World of Warcraft - Music & Ambience - Elwynn Forest
Published: 2016/06/01
Channel: Everness
Forrest and America comments iPod & iPhone
Forrest and America comments iPod & iPhone
Published: 2016/03/13
Channel: Jennifer Juul Thomas
"I
"I'll Be" Edwin Mccain (Cover) - Forrest Shaw
Published: 2015/02/19
Channel: Forrest Shaw
video-2011-04-03-00-24-27
video-2011-04-03-00-24-27
Published: 2011/04/04
Channel: Christina Branham
History of the Walnut Street Theatre
History of the Walnut Street Theatre
Published: 2015/12/01
Channel: Caroline Kimbro
Forrest Elementary
Forrest Elementary's Winter Concert 12-14-15
Published: 2015/12/16
Channel: Hampton Media Network
Parkour in the Forrest (freemovr)
Parkour in the Forrest (freemovr)
Published: 2017/01/27
Channel: Edwin Holm
Ronnie Rita & Me
Ronnie Rita & Me
Published: 2015/11/04
Channel: Marcia Ward
TE VAKA - TE HIVA (Live)
TE VAKA - TE HIVA (Live)
Published: 2013/07/19
Channel: Te Vaka
Why Was an Ornate Opera House the Scene of a Riot in 19th Century NYC?
Why Was an Ornate Opera House the Scene of a Riot in 19th Century NYC?
Published: 2012/01/12
Channel: NYC Media
2017 Philadelphia Region Contest Entry: Austin Meehan Middle School
2017 Philadelphia Region Contest Entry: Austin Meehan Middle School
Published: 2017/03/07
Channel: What's So Cool About Manufacturing?
LEE MOORE on the THE EDWIN BOOTH MOVIE
LEE MOORE on the THE EDWIN BOOTH MOVIE
Published: 2014/11/03
Channel: Edwin Booth
Darron Forrest Boxing Challenge
Darron Forrest Boxing Challenge
Published: 2016/02/17
Channel: G.F Bradby
Isolotto quartiere liberato
Isolotto quartiere liberato
Published: 2017/03/14
Channel: Archivio Audiovisivo del Movimento Operaio e Democratico
Forrest Elementary Talent Show starts
Forrest Elementary Talent Show starts
Published: 2016/06/10
Channel: Scott keaton
Paul Davids, The Life After Death Project, Forrest J. Ackerman, 05-08-17
Paul Davids, The Life After Death Project, Forrest J. Ackerman, 05-08-17
Published: 2017/05/09
Channel: Martin Willis Live Shows
Marimba concert - Rain Forrest
Marimba concert - Rain Forrest
Published: 2011/04/24
Channel: DESmuziek
Forrest Elementary Library
Forrest Elementary Library
Published: 2014/02/27
Channel: Kara Kinsman
Forrest Elementary School
Forrest Elementary School 's "Be the Change" Challenge
Published: 2012/04/16
Channel: Shauna Price
Welcome Home Realty PH - Antipolo - Forrest Ridge - Walnut Model
Welcome Home Realty PH - Antipolo - Forrest Ridge - Walnut Model
Published: 2016/07/05
Channel: mark edwin fajilan
Save The American Way (1942) - Helen Forrest
Save The American Way (1942) - Helen Forrest
Published: 2017/05/24
Channel: Croonr1
The New York of Edwin Booth
The New York of Edwin Booth
Published: 2015/11/17
Channel: John Watts
5 Coolest Wallets You Need To See
5 Coolest Wallets You Need To See
Published: 2016/11/01
Channel: 4Tech HD
Edwin McCain | Go Be Young | Kent Stage | April 28, 2011
Edwin McCain | Go Be Young | Kent Stage | April 28, 2011
Published: 2011/04/30
Channel: Dave Bartiromo
The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup (d
The Foundations: Build Me Up Buttercup (d'Abo / Macaulay, 1968)
Published: 2010/05/08
Channel: davidhertzberg1
Mine Would Be You - Forrest Shaw (Cover)
Mine Would Be You - Forrest Shaw (Cover)
Published: 2015/10/02
Channel: Forrest Shaw
HMS Combined Choir - "The Music of Living" | Dan Forrest
HMS Combined Choir - "The Music of Living" | Dan Forrest
Published: 2016/12/07
Channel: Jack Oxley Videography
Costa Rica - Forrest river crab
Costa Rica - Forrest river crab
Published: 2014/04/16
Channel: edwin lether
Angel Forrest chante "Cry Baby" aux Beaux Esprits le 02 dec.1994
Angel Forrest chante "Cry Baby" aux Beaux Esprits le 02 dec.1994
Published: 2012/05/21
Channel: zappalennon
Forrest Shaw - Give me Love (Cover)
Forrest Shaw - Give me Love (Cover)
Published: 2017/04/29
Channel: Forrest Shaw
Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary
Stanton: Lincoln’s War Secretary
Published: 2017/08/22
Channel: US National Archives
How to Pronounce Edwin M
How to Pronounce Edwin M
Published: 2016/12/09
Channel: Dictionary Voice
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Edwin Forrest
Edwin Forrest.jpg
Daguerreotype of Forrest by Mathew Brady
Born (1806-03-09)March 9, 1806
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died December 12, 1872(1872-12-12) (aged 66)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Occupation Actor

Edwin Forrest (March 9, 1806 – December 12, 1872) was a prominent nineteenth-century American Shakespearean actor. His feud with the British actor William Charles Macready was the cause of the deadly Astor Place Riot of 1849.

Early life[edit]

Forrest was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Rebecca (née Lauman) and William Forrest. His father, a Scottish merchandise peddler, moved from Dumfriesshire to Trenton, New Jersey in 1791. His mother was a member of an affluent German-American family. A business setback led William to relocate to Philadelphia, where he married Rebecca and was able to secure a position with a local branch of the United States Bank.[1][2] As boys, Forrest and his brother William joined a local juvenile thespian club and participated in theatrical performances staged in a sparsely decorated woodshed.

At the age of 11, Forrest made his first appearance on the legitimate stage at Philadelphia's South Street Theatre, playing the female role Rosalia de Borgia in the John D. Turnbull melodrama Rudolph: or, The Robbers of Calabria. After Forrest's father died in 1819, he attempted to apprentice with a printer, a cooper, and finally a ship chandler. When attending a lecture in early 1820, he volunteered to participate in an experiment on the effects of nitrous oxide. While under the influence of the gas, he broke into a soliloquy from Shakespeare's Richard III that impressed eminent Philadelphia lawyer John Swift so much that Swift arranged an audition at the Walnut Street Theatre; this led to Forrest's formal stage debut on November 27, 1820, as Young Norval in John Home's Douglas.[1][2][3]

Early acting career[edit]

The theatres of New York and Philadelphia were already crowded with trained and successful actors. Forrest therefore set out at once for the south and west. His tour through a rough country—with the inconveniences of long distances, the necessity of presenting his plays in rude halls, insufficient support, and poor scenery—was not altogether successful, but the discipline to mind and body was felt in all his subsequent career.[4]

Forrest soon gained fame for portraying blackface caricatures of African Americans.[5]

Constance Rourke wrote that his impression was so believable he often mingled in the streets with African Americans unnoticed. He allegedly fooled one old black woman into taking him for a friend and then convinced her to join him in his stage performance that night.[6]

New York success[edit]

Forrest at 21

In 1826 he had a great success at the Bowery Theatre in New York City as Othello. The management employed him at a salary far below his worth, and he was at once offered increased payment at another theatre; but he refused to break his word, and carried out the contract to his own detriment. This strict sense of honor was characteristic of him throughout his career.[4]

His New York success was repeated in every city he visited. In 1829 he was featured as Metamora in the play Metamora; or, The Last of the Wampanoags by John Augustus Stone. After a few years of profitable labor, during which he had encouraged native talent by liberal offers for new American plays, he went to Europe for rest and travel and larger observation, and was received with much courtesy by actors and scholars.[4]

He returned to Philadelphia in 1831, and played there and in New York and elsewhere with triumphant success until September, 1836, when he sailed for England, this time professionally, and made his first appearance at Drury Lane as Spartacus in The Gladiator in 1836. The play was not a success, although his own role was noted favorably. During a season of ten months he performed in that historic theatre the parts of Macbeth, Othello, and King Lear. His social triumphs were as great as were his professional; he was entertained by William Macready and Charles Kemble, and at the end of the season was complimented by a dinner at the Garrick Club, presided over by Thomas Talfourd.[4]

During this engagement he married, in June 1837, Miss Catherine Norton Sinclair, daughter of John Sinclair, a popular English singer. He returned to Philadelphia in November of the same year and began an engagement. His wife made a deep impression wherever she was presented, and it was argued that domestic happiness would be the fitting crown of his public career. But these predictions were disappointed.[4]

Playwrighting contest[edit]

Edwin Forrest began a playwrighting contest from 1828 to 1847. The only rule the plays had to follow was that the lead Character had to fit Forrest and the plays typically followed American themes. The first play to win the contest was Metamora by John Augustus Stone in 1828. The winner the following year was The Gladiator by Robert Montgomery Bird. Other winning titles include Richard Penn Smith’s Caius Marcus; two other plays by Robert Mongomery Bird: Oralloosa and The Broker of Bogota; and Robert T. Conrad’s Jack Cade. Of these Forrest kept The Gladiator, Metamora, and Jack Cade. Forrest is known now as a great Shakespearean actor as well as a supporter of emerging playwrights, as his contest helped get their plays produced.

Rivalry with Macready[edit]

Forrest visited London a second time in 1845, accompanied by his wife, who was welcomed in the intellectual circles of English and Scottish society. He acted at the Princess's Theatre in London. He met with great success in Virginius and other parts, but when he attempted to personate Macbeth, a character unsuited to his physique and style of acting, the performance was hissed by the audience. Forrest attributed the hissing to the professional jealousy and machinations of Macready, although that artist had been kind and helpful to him when he first came before London audiences.

A few weeks later, when Macready was playing Hamlet in Edinburgh, Forrest stood up in a private box and hissed the English actor. This act evoked reproaches from the British press and destroyed the respect in which he had been held by the public. A letter by Forrest printed in The Times aggravated the offence. The incident was fatal to his popularity in Britain. His jealousy of Macready resulted in the Astor Place riot in May 1849.[4]

Divorce[edit]

Early daguerreotype of Forrest

In 1850, Forrest and his wife sought divorce, after Forrest's affair with actress Josephine Clifton; he claimed that he had found a love letter to his wife from fellow actor George W. Jamieson.[7] Forrest and Catherine separated in April 1849 and he moved to Philadelphia where he filed for divorce in February 1850, though the Pennsylvania legislature denied his divorce application.[8] Under the advice of Parke Godwin, Catherine hired Charles O'Conor as her lawyer.[9] The divorce became a Cause célèbre and the well-known writer Nathaniel Parker Willis was caught in the middle. Willis defended Catherine, who maintained her innocence, in his magazine Home Journal and suggested that Forrest was merely jealous of her intellectual superiority.[10] On June 17, 1850, shortly after Forrest had filed for divorce in the New York Supreme Court,[11] Forrest beat Willis with a gutta-percha whip in New York's Washington Square, shouting "this man is the seducer of my wife".[12] Willis, who was recovering from a rheumatic fever at the time, was unable to fight back.[13] Willis's own wife soon received an anonymous letter suggesting that Willis was, in fact, involved with Forrest's wife.[14] Willis later sued Forrest for assault and, by March 1852, was awarded $2,500 plus court costs.[13] In the divorce case, Charles O'Conor was the counsel for Catherine, the defendant, with John Van Buren representing Edwin. Throughout the Forrest divorce case, which lasted six weeks, several witnesses made additional claims that Catherine Forrest and Nathaniel Parker Willis were having an affair, including a waiter who claimed he had seen the couple "lying on each other".[14] As the press reported, "thousands and thousands of the anxious public" awaited the court's verdict; ultimately, the court sided with Catherine Forrest and Willis's name was cleared.[15] O'Conor won a national reputation by winning the case, and secured a liberal alimony for Catherine.[4] The whole affair hurt Forrest's reputation and soured his temper.

Later stage career[edit]

In 1853 he played Macbeth, with a strong cast and fine scenery, at the Broadway Theatre for four weeks—an unprecedented run at that date—and at the end of this engagement he retired from the stage for several years. He became interested in politics, being spoken of as a candidate for congress, and did not return to professional life until 1860, when he appeared at Niblo's Garden, New York, as Hamlet, and played the most successful engagement of his life. Hereditary gout developed itself in a malignant form in 1865, during an engagement at the Holliday Street Theatre in Baltimore, Maryland the sciatic nerve was paralyzed, and he never regained the use of his hand or his steady gait. His California tour in 1866 was a failure. He played his last New York engagement in February, 1871, the plays being Richelieu and King Lear. The weather was cold, and the houses empty.

In October 1871, Forrest commenced his last annual tour, starting at the Walnut Theater in his home town of Philadelphia. He passed through Columbus, OH; Cincinnati OH, New Orleans LA, Galveston TX, Nashville TN, Kansas City, Leavenworth KA, St. LouisMO, Pittsburgh PA. Detroit MI, Buffalo NY and, by late February, the Opera House in Rochester NY, February 27 through March 1. From Rochester he traveled on to Boston MA.[16]

Forrest's castle-like mansion by the Hudson River in New York

On the night of March 25, 1872, he appeared in Boston, Massachusetts at the Globe Theatre, as Lear, played this part six times, and was announced for Richelieu and Virginius, but on the intervening Sunday he caught cold. He struggled through the role of Richelieu on Monday night, and rare bursts of eloquence lighted the gloom, but he labored piteously against the disease which was fast conquering him. Being offered stimulants, he signed them away, with the words, “If I die, I will still be my royal self.” This was his last appearance as an actor. He eventually recovered from the severe attack of pneumonia. The craving for public applause, which was his only happiness, induced him to give readings from Shakespeare in several large cities. The scheme failed, and was abandoned, to his deep mortification.[4]

A stroke of paralysis ended his life suddenly and without pain. His servant found him dead, alone, and apparently asleep, in his home in Philadelphia December 12, 1872. His body was interred in Old Saint Paul's Episcopal Church Cemetery, Philadelphia.[17] The large sums that he had earned on the stage were judiciously and fortunately invested, and resulted in his amassing a large fortune. He had purchased, about 1850, a site on the banks of the Hudson, on which he erected a castellated structure. This estate, which he named Fonthill, he afterward sold at a large advance for a convent, which later became the College of Mount Saint Vincent. In 1855 he purchased his mansion in Philadelphia, to which he retired after his temporary abandonment of the stage. There he collected the largest dramatic library in the United States. By avoiding New York and by legal evasions he succeeded in escaping the payment of alimony to his wife, but left his estate heavily in her debt.[4]

Philanthropic efforts[edit]

Edwin Forrest home in Philadelphia

His love of the theatre was unbounded, and he is one of the few whose memory survives to this day, for he used his considerable accumulated wealth to support his fellow actors.

This began in 1865, the year of Lincoln's assassination by the actor John Wilkes Booth, a time when the public held those in the acting profession in low regard, if not contempt. He sheltered actors at his Summer home near Philadelphia and, in 1876, four years after his death at the age of 66, his will instructed that there should be formed the Forrest Home for retired actors in Philadelphia, which was to last for over one hundred years before being folded into the much larger Actors Fund facility in Englewood, New Jersey. There his name lives on, in the Edwin Forrest Wing.

In the 1920s, architect Herbert J. Krapp was chosen to design two new theatres, one in New York City and the other in Philadelphia. Both were initially named the Forrest Theatre in honor of Forrest and his contributions to the theatre world. While the Philadelphia location is still called the Forrest Theatre, the building in New York has changed names over the years and is currently known as the Eugene O'Neill Theatre.[18][19]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Rees, James - The life of Edwin Forrest: With Reminiscences and Personal Recollections, 1874 accessed 12.13.12
  2. ^ a b Barrett, Lawrence and Forrest, Edwin, Edwin Forrest, 1881 accessed 12.13.12
  3. ^ The Twentieth Century Biographical Dictionary of Notable Americans: Volume IV Forrest, Edwin 1904 p. 152-153
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Wikisource-logo.svg Barrett, Lawrence (1900). "Forrest, Edwin". In Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John. Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  5. ^ New York Times, May 9, 1897, 'THE OLD TIME MINSTREL: He Has Gone Out of Vogue, but the Public Recollects Him with Pleasure:"The great tragedian Edwin Forrest was very fond of negro minstrelsy, and could give a splendid imitation of the negro dialect, having "blacked up" when he strolling in the West, learning his art."
  6. ^ Rourke, Constance (1931). American Humor: A Study of the National Character. Quoted in Watkins 83.
  7. ^ Baker, Thomas N. Nathaniel Parker Willis and the Trials of Literary Fame. New York, Oxford University Press, 2001: 116. ISBN 0-19-512073-6
  8. ^ Beers, Henry A. Nathaniel Parker Willis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913: 309.
  9. ^ Baker, Thomas N. Nathaniel Parker Willis and the Trials of Literary Fame. New York, Oxford University Press, 2001: 118. ISBN 0-19-512073-6
  10. ^ Beers, Henry A. Nathaniel Parker Willis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913.: 311.
  11. ^ Beers, Henry A. Nathaniel Parker Willis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913: 312.
  12. ^ Baker, Thomas N. Nathaniel Parker Willis and the Trials of Literary Fame. New York, Oxford University Press, 2001: 115. ISBN 0-19-512073-6
  13. ^ a b Beers, Henry A. Nathaniel Parker Willis. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1913: 313.
  14. ^ a b Yellin, Jean Fagan. Harriet Jacobs: A Life. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Basic Civitas Books, 2004: 112. ISBN 0-465-09288-8
  15. ^ Yellin, Jean Fagan. Harriet Jacobs: A Life. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Basic Civitas Books, 2004: 113. ISBN 0-465-09288-8
  16. ^ Philadelphia Inquirer 10/16/1871; Portsmouth, Ohio, Daily Times 10/28/1871; Cincinnati Enquirer 11/9/1871; New Orleans Times Democrat 11/24/1871; Galveston Daily News 12/8/1871; Nashville Union and American 12/23/1871; New Orleans Times Democrat, 12/31/1871, Atchinson, Kansas, Daily Champion 12/30/1871; Atlanta Constitution 1/19/1872; Pittsburgh Commercial, 1/29/1872; Detroit Free Press 2/4/1872; Detroit Free Press 2/6/1872; Washington, DC National Republican 2/24/1872; Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 2/26/1872; Detroit Free Press 3/24/1872; Rochester Democrat & Chronicle 4/4/1872), Baltimore Sun 4/6/1872
  17. ^ "Edwin Forrest". Find a Grave. Retrieved 2017-05-21. 
  18. ^ "The Forrest Theatre, Philadelphia" Shubert Organization. Retrieved 30 March 2009.
  19. ^ "History" Eugene O'Neill Theatre. Retrieved 30 March 2009.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

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