Drew, John

Drew, John,

1827–62, American actor, b. Dublin. After establishing a reputation as a comedian in the 1840s, he devoted his energies to the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, where he maintained a famous stock company, with his wife as co-star. His wife, Louisa Lane Drew, 1820–97, b. London, came to the United States as a child and, until her marriage in 1850, acted with such stars as J. B. Booth and Edwin Forrest. On her husband's death she assumed management of the Arch Street Theatre until 1892, establishing her reputation as a character actress. She was constantly seen on tour (1880–92) as Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals, which was her best role. Her three children, John and Sidney Drew and Georgiana Drew (who married Maurice BarrymoreBarrymore,
Anglo-American family of actors. Maurice Barrymore

The first actor of the name was Maurice Barrymore, 1847–1905, b. Agra, India. His original name was Herbert Blythe. He graduated from Cambridge, took a law degree, but renounced law for the stage.
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), had their early training under their mother. Her eldest son, John Drew, 1853–1927, b. Philadelphia, began his career in her company. In 1875 he joined the company of Augustin DalyDaly, Augustin,
1838–99, American theatrical manager and dramatist, b. Plymouth, N.C. After 1859 he was drama critic for several New York City newspapers and adapted many plays from French and German.
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 in New York and played with acclaim in Daly's remarkable Shakespearean productions. In 1892 he left Daly and, as one of the first Charles FrohmanFrohman, Charles
, 1860–1915, American theatrical manager and producer, b. Sandusky, Ohio. Starting his career as a box-office clerk in Brooklyn, N.Y., Frohman became a successful producer with Bronson Howard's Shenandoah (1889).
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 stars, played in modern comedies with Maude Adams.


See L. L. Drew's Autobiographical Sketch; the younger John Drew's autobiography, My Years on the Stage (1922); biographies by E. A. Dithmar (1900) and P. Wood (1928); M. J. Moses, Famous Actor-Families in America (1906).

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Drew, John

(1827–62) actor, comedian; born in Dublin, Ireland. He debuted in 1846 in New York, but most of his career and that of his wife, Louisa Lane Drew, centered on his repertory company at the Arch Street Theatre in Philadelphia.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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