Jefferson, Joseph

▪ American actor
born Feb. 20, 1829, Philadelphia, Pa., U.S.
died April 23, 1905, Palm Beach, Fla.
 American actor whose name became identified with the character of Rip Van Winkle.

      The third actor of this name in a family of actors and managers, Jefferson completely eclipsed his forebears. He made his stage debut at the age of three in Kotzebue's Pizarro, and, after years of struggle as a traveling actor and manager, Jefferson achieved his first important success in Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin (1858), a play that was the turning point in his career. Other plays acted by Jefferson in those years included Dion Boucicault's Octoroon (1859), but his Bob Acres in The Rivals by Richard Sheridan, although very successful, was more Jefferson's creation than the author's.

      In 1859 Jefferson made a stage adaptation of Washington Irving's Rip Van Winkle, which was only moderately successful. While in England in 1865 he commissioned Boucicault to write another version, and this, along with minor improvements incorporated over the years, was the final one. As Rip, Jefferson delighted London audiences for 170 consecutive nights, and he brought the play to America in 1866. After 1865 he created no new roles, as his public never tired of the delightful and sensitive characterization of Rip. He did, however, revive earlier plays in which he had appeared. Through the last third of the 19th century Jefferson remained at a peak of popularity.

      The friend of many leading figures in politics, art, and literature, Jefferson brought dignity to the stage. He was awarded the lifetime honour of the presidency of the Players' club, succeeding Edwin Booth and preceding John Drew. His first wife was the actress Margaret Clements Lockyer, and his second was Sarah Warren, niece of the actor William Warren. Jefferson's Autobiography (1890) is written with spirit and humour, and its judgments with regard to the art of the actor and the playwright place it beside Colley Cibber's Apology.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • JEFFERSON, JOSEPH —    comedian, born in Philadelphia, of theatrical lineage; was on the stage at the age of 3; made his first success in New York as Dr. Pangloss in 1857, and in London in 1865 began to play his most famous rôle, Rip van Winkle, a most exquisite… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • JEFFERSON, Joseph (1829-1905) — actor son of Joseph Jefferson and his wife, Cornelia Frances Thomas, was born in Philadelphia, U.S.A., on 20 February 1829. Both his father and his grandfather were actors. The boy began his stage career at the age of four and he had little… …   Dictionary of Australian Biography

  • Jefferson, Joseph, III — (1829 1905)    Born in Philadelphia, the son of scene painter and actor Joseph Jefferson II (and grandson of Joseph Jefferson I, a popular Philadelphia actor in the early 18th century), made his first stage appearance as a toddler with T. D. Rice …   The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater

  • Joseph Dennie — Portrait of Joseph Dennie by James Sharples, c. 1790 Born Joseph Dennie August 30, 1768 Boston, Massachusetts Died January 7, 1812 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania …   Wikipedia

  • Joseph Jefferson — est un acteur américain né le 20 février 1829 à Philadelphie, Pennsylvanie (États Unis), décédé le 23 avril 1905 à Palm Beach (Floride) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jefferson DeBlanc — Jefferson Joseph DeBlanc Naissance 15 février 1921 Lockport (en), Louisiane, États Unis Décès 22 novembre 2007 (à 86 ans) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Jefferson — Jefferson, Thomas * * * (as used in expressions) William Jefferson Clinton William Jefferson Blythe IV Davis, Jefferson Joseph Jefferson Jackson Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson City Arthur Stanley Jefferson …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Jefferson J. DeBlanc — Infobox Military Person name= Jefferson Joseph DeBlanc born= Birth date|1921|2|15 died= death date and age|2007|11|22|1921|2|15 placeofbirth= Lockport, Louisiana placeofdeath= Lafayette, Louisiana placeofburial= caption= Medal of Honor recipient… …   Wikipedia

  • Jefferson — /jef euhr seuhn/, n. 1. Joseph, 1829 1905, U.S. actor. 2. Thomas, 1743 1826, U.S. statesman, diplomat, architect, and author: third president of the U.S. 1801 09. 3. a male given name. * * * (as used in expressions) Davis Jefferson Joseph… …   Universalium

  • Joseph Jefferson — (February 20, 1829 – April 23, 1905) was an American actor. He was the third actor of this name in a family of actors and managers, and one of the most famous of all American comedians.Life and careerJefferson was born in Philadelphia. His father …   Wikipedia

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