Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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BARRETT, Lawrence, actor, born in Paterson, New Jersey, 4 April 1838. His first appearance was in Detroit in 1853 as Murad in "The French Spy." After a year's experience in playing minor parts, he spent a short season in Pittsburghh. He then acted in St. Louis, Chicago, and elsewhere, until December 1856, when he was engaged at the Chain-bets Street theatre, New York, where he appeared as Sir Thomas Clifford in "The Hunchback." He was engaged by Mr. Burton early in 1857, and acted under his management for nearly two years, supporting Charlotte Cushman, Edwin Booth, and other prominent actors. In 1858 he was engaged for leading parts at the Boston museum, and later at the Howard athenaeum of that City, where he played with Miss Cushman, Barry Sullivan, and E. L. Davenport. On the outbreak of the civil war in 1861, Mr. Barrett accepted a captaincy in the 28th Massachusetts infantry and served with distinction. Afterward he acted at Philadelphia, at Washing ton, and then at the Winter Garden in New York, where he was engaged by Mr. Booth to play Othello to his Iago. The elder Wallack considered his impersonation of this character the most striking performance lie had seen in twenty years. Mr. Barrett then became associated in the management of the Varieties theatre in New Orleans, playing leading parts, and for the first time acting as Richelieu, Hamlet, and Shylock. About this time he met Edwin Forrest, and was led to make a careful study of the history and literature of the stage, a circumstance which afterward was of great value to him. In 1864 he purchased "Rose-dale" from Lester Wallack, and, after acting the leading character in it at New Orleans, made his first tour as a star actor. In 1867 he played with great success at Maguire's opera-house in San Francisco, where he remained as manager of the California theatre until 1870, when he again appeared in New York. Late in 1870 he played with Mr. Booth in opposite characters at Booth's theatre. In 1871-'2 he managed the New Varieties theatre in New Orleans, and in December 1872, he played Cassius to Booth's Brutus in New York. During 1873-'4 he made successful tours through the United States, visiting the leading cities. The season of 1875 began with a magnificent revival of "Julius Caesar" at Booth's theatre, where he again appeared as Cassius and later as King Lear. He took the part of Daniel Druce, and was the first actor to appear in Mr. Gilbert's play of that name in the United States. Later he produced "Yorick's Love" at the Park theatre in New York. His most recent success has been in Boker's "Francesca di Rimini," which he brought out in 1882 at the Chestnut street theatre, Philadelphia. He acted the Hunchback, Lanciotto, with great intelligence and rare power. In the autumn of 1883 this play ran for nine weeks at the Star theatre, New York, where it was presented on a very complete scale and attracted much enthusiasm. In 1867, 1881, 1883, and 1884, Mr. Barrett visited England, and during his last visit appeared in many of his prominent ro1es, which were favorably received. He is the author of a life of Edwin Forrest (Boston, 1881).
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