Maclean, John (1835?-1890) (DNB00)

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MACLEAN, JOHN (1835?–1890), actor, born in London, after giving dramatic recitations, made at the Plymouth Theatre in 1859 his first appearance on the stage. He there played the King in 'Hamlet' to the Hamlet of Charles Kean. After acting in Jersey, Guernsey, and Birmingham, he appeared in London on 7 Sept. 1861 at the Surrey as Peter Purcell in the 'Idiot of the Mountain.' On 27 May 1863 he was the original Mr. Gibson in the 'Ticket-of-Leave an,' adapted by Tom Taylor from the 'Leonard' of Brisebarre and Nus. On 20 July 1867 he was, at the Princess's, the original Saunders, an old Scottish servant, in Wills's 'Man o' Airlie.' On the opening night of the Gaiety Theatre (21 Dec. 1868), under the management of John Hollingshead, Maclean was the first Sir Gilbert Ethelward in ' On the Cards,' a version by Mr. Alfred Thompson of 'L'Escamoteur' of D'Ennery and Bresil. At the same house he was, on 27 March 1869, the original Duke of Loamshire in Robertson's 'Dreams,' and on 11 Oct. 1869 the first Marquis de Fontenelle in the 'Life Chase,' an adaptation by John Oxenford and Horace Wigan of 'Le Drame de la rue de la Paix ' of Adolphe Belot, and on 7 May 1870 Sir Tunbelly Clumsy in the 'Man of Quality,' an alteration by John Hollingshead of the 'Relapse' of Wycherley. At the Princess's, on 29 June 1871, he was Mr. Clifford in the production of Falconer's 'Eileen Oge, or Dark's the Hour before the Dawn.' Returning to the Gaiety, he played Polonius to the Hamlet of Walter Montgomery. Among very numerous parts in which he was seen at the Gaiety may be mentioned O'Tarragon in Byron's 'Bull by the Horns,' 26 Aug. 1876; Sneer in the Critic; and Earl of Bareacres in F. C. Burnand's 'Jeames,' 26 Aug. 1878. When the Olympic opened under John Hollingshead's management, Maclean returned to that house, playing on 18 Dec. 1879 in 'Such a good Man,' by Walter Besant and James Rice, and on 17 Jan. 1880 Mr. Carter in a revival of 'Brighton,' altered from Bronson Howard' 'Saratoga' by F. A. Marshall. In 1881 he was at the Vaudeville, playing on 29 March Mr. Popplejohn in 'Divorce,' an adaptation by Robert Keece of 'Le pere de l'Avocat;' on 10 March Martin Chuzzlewit in the niece of that name; and on 26 May Dr. Lattimer in Byron's 'Punch.' In 1884 he joined the Prince's Theatre, subsequently the Prince of Wales's, under Edgar Bruce, playing on the opening night, 18 Jan., in a revival of W. S. Gilbert's 'Palace of Truth,' and on 3 March in 'Breaking a Butterfly,' adapted from Ibsen's 'A Doll's House,' by Mr. H. A. Jones and Henry Herman. In a revival at the St. James's of 'As you like it,' 24 Jan. 1885, he played Adam, and on 10 Sept. 1887 was Camillo in the revival of the 'Winter's Tale' at the Lyceum by Miss Mary Anderson. He accompanied Miss Anderson to America. After his return he was little seen. His last appearance was at an afternoon performance at the Strand of 'My Brothers Sister,' in which, under the management of Miss Minnie Palmer, he played an old French nobleman. He died on 15 March 1890, at his lodgings in Percy Street, Tottenham Court Road, London, and was buried on the 19th at Paddington cemetery.

A sound and trustworthy actor, Maclean never rose to eminence. He was capable of playing in respectable fashion most parts in comedy, even to the highest, and was generally satisfactory, but was seldom assigned a rôle of any distinguishing feature. His chief success was in elderly parts, often Scotsmen or Irishmen. In the comedy of the last generation he won a recognition due to the want of any very formidable rival.

[Personal recollections; Pascoe's Dramatic List; Scott and Howard's Life and Reminiscences of E. L. Blanchard; The Theatre, Athenæum, Sunday Times, and Era Almanack, various years; Era newspaper, 22 March 1890.]

J. K.