Aldridge, Ira Frederick

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.