Ira Frederick Aldridge

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Aldridge, Ira Frederick


Born circa 1805 in New York; died Aug. 7, 1867, in Łódź, Poland. American Negro actor.

In the 1820’s Aldridge acted in an amateur theater in New York. After racists destroyed the theater, he performed with E. Kean during the latter’s tours. In 1827 he made his debut at the Royalty Theatre in London. He toured England and Ireland and worked in the Covent Garden, Lyceum, and other theaters. Racist persecution compelled Aldridge to leave England during the 1830’s. During the 1850’s he toured Europe with great success. He was ethusiastically hailed by such members of the Russian intelligentsia as M. S. Shchepkin and P. M. Sadovskii.

Aldridge was the first American actor to win world fame for his Shakespearean roles. He endowed his heroes with verisimilitude and genuine wisdom and depth. He excelled in the role of Othello, whom he made the personification of the Negro people’s insistence on their human dignity. As an actor Aldridge combined a fiery temperament and quick emotion with strict control. He also worked as a director.


Durylin, S. N. Aira Oldridzh (Ira Aldridge). Moscow-Leningrad, 1940.


References in periodicals archive ?
Bell, "Men We Have Known: Ira Aldridge," Elevator 20 September 1867: 2.
VERSATILE: Ira Aldridge turned his hand to comedy and tragedy; SUCCESS AGAINST THE ODDS: Martin Hoyles's book about Ira Aldridge, who has been honoured by the Theatre Royal in Newcastle
Outspoken actor and civil rights activist Paul shot to fame at London's Savoy Theatre in 1930 when he became the first black actor to perform the lead role in Othello since Ira Aldridge in 1860.
One recent segment on "The African American Experience" was about Ira Aldridge, who was born in New York in 1807 and is the only actor of African-American descent among those honored with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon in England.
Aldridge was the daughter of the 19th century's greatest black-African actor Ira Aldridge.
retreat to the outskirts of town," a riot by circus performers evidently paid by a rival theater, harassment of the actors onstage leading to performances being abandoned, a vicious assault and battery (never punished) on the teenaged Ira Aldridge, and beating of the manager William Brown, one wonders how much harassment would be required to be considered persecution.
The first reproduces nineteenth-century documents regarding Aldridge, most significantly "Memoir and Theatrical Career of Ira Aldridge, the African Roscius" (ca.
Arranged into key themes - including Artists' Models, Anti-Slavery, Portraits, Fiction & Fantasy and Into And Out Of Africa - the exhibition celebrates such famous figures as Crimean nurse Mary Seacole and actor Ira Aldridge.
One troupe that is not on Toll's list, and is not, as far as I know, documented elsewhere, is the Ira Aldridge Troupe, which played in Philadelphia at the Franklin Hall in Philadelphia in 1863.
By a curious omission, the most celebrated alumnus of the African Theatre, Ira Aldridge, is not listed among the roster of actors, the author having raised doubts about his appearance with the company.
Clive Cole and the Arab Chief Bust by Calvi Pietro and (above) with the portrait of Ira Aldridge.
Ira Aldridge, the first important black American Shakespearean actor, had an odd but remarkable theatrical career.