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Edwin Forrest (1806-1872)


The creator of a distinctly American school of acting, Edwin Forrest made his New York debut in 1826, at the age of twenty, and for many years thereafter enjoyed a popularity with American audiences unequaled in its day. A dynamic performer who imbued his characters with an elemental passion and energy that had their source in his own strong-willed and volatile nature, Forrest captivated audiences with his impassioned delivery and his commanding stage presence. Forrest’s popularity, at its peak by the late 1840s, was subsequently damaged by a senseless feud with the English actor William Macready, as well as by the scandal surrounding Forrest’s widely publicized, acrimonious divorce from his wife.


Mathew Brady Studio (active 18441883)
Albumen silver print
Frederick Hill Meserve Collection
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

 

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