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Born Aug. 12,1720, in Hamburg; died June 16,1778, in Gotha. German actor and theatrical figure.
Ekhof began his stage career in 1740 in Hamburg, appearing with J. Schönemann’s company. He appeared with the companies of H. Koch and K. Ackermann, and from 1767 to 1768 performed at the National Theater in Hamburg. He was the favorite actor of G. E. Lessing, with whom he held many common views, and was the first interpreter of bourgeois Enlightenment drama on the German stage.
Ekhof helped develop a theory of acting and was a superb teacher; his student F. L. Schröder was an outstanding reformer of the German stage. Basing his generalized theories on stage experience, Ekhof established the Academy of the Schönemann Society in Schwerin in 1753. Ekhof also was a critic, translator, and historian of the German theater.
Ekhof was famous for his performances as Barnwell in Lillo’s The London Merchant and Odoardo, Mellefont, and Tellheim in Lessing’s Emilia Galotti, Miss Sara Sampson, and Minna von Barnhelm.