Montague, Henry James (DNB00)

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MONTAGUE, HENRY JAMES (1843?–1878), actor, whose real name was Mann, held an appointment in the Sun Fire Office. After playing as an amateur he appeared at Astley's Theatre under Dion Boucicault, enacting on 26 Jan. 1863 the Junior Counsel for the Defence in the 'Trial of Elfie Deans,' extracted by Boucicault from the 'Heart of Midlothian.' At the St. James's on 11 Jan. 1864 he appeared with Charles Mathews in the 'Adventures of a Love Letter,' an adaptation by Mathews of M. Sardou's 'Pattes de Mouche,' was Faust in Mr. Burnand's burlesque 'Faust and Marguerite,' 9 July, and 1 Oct. Christopher Larkins in 'Woodcock's Little Game.' On 29 June 1865 he was the original Launcelot Darrell, a murderer, in 'Eleanor's Victory,' adapted from Miss Braddon by John Oxenford; at the Olympic, 9 Dec., the original Clement Austin in 'Henry Dunbar, or the Outcast,' adapted by Tom Taylor from 'L'Ouvriere de Londres,' itself founded by M. Hostein on Miss Braddon's novel; on 25 April 1 866 was the first Sir Charles Ormond in Leicester Buckingham's ' Love's Martyrdom;' and on 27 Sept. 1866 the first Captain Trevor in Tom Taylor's 'Whiteboy.' On the production of Wilkie Collins's 'Frozen Deep,' 27 Oct. 1866, he was Frank Aldersley, and he played Mars in Mr. Burnand's burlesque 'Olympic Games' on 25 May 1867. Montague's first appearance at the Prince of Wales's under the Bancroft management took place as Dick Heartley, an original part, in Boucicault's 'How she loves him,' 21 Dec. 1867, and Frank Price in Robertson's 'Play' followed, 15 Feb. 1868. At the Princess's, 12 Aug. 1868, he was the original Sir George Medhurst in 'After Dark,' an adaptation by Boucicault of 'Les Oiseaux de Proie' of D'Ennery and Grange. Back at the Prince of Wales's he was, 12 Dec. 1868, the original Waverham in Mr. Edmund Yates's 'Tame Cats,' and on 16 Jan. 1869 made his first distinct mark as Lord Beaufoy in Robertson's 'School.' In partnership with David James (d. 1893) and Mr. Thomas Thorne he opened the Vaudeville Theatre on 16 April 1870, speaking an address by Shirley Brooks, and playing George Anderson in Andrew Halliday's comedy 'For Love or Money.' In Albery's 'Two Roses,' 4 June 1870, he made a hit as Jack Wyatt to the Digby Grant of Mr. Henry Irving. In 1871 he seceded from the management, and became sole lessee of the Globe, opening 7 Oct. 1871 with Byron's 'Partners for Life,' in which he played Tom Gilroy, a young barrister. Here he remained till 1874, playing numerous original parts, among which were : Claude Redruth in Albery's 'Forgiven,' 9 March 1872; Walker in Byron's 'Spur of the Moment,' founded on Hooke's 'Gilbert Gurney,' 4 May 1872; Lord Chilton in Frank Marshall's 'False Shame,' 4 Nov. 1872; Wilfrid Cumberledge in 'Tears, Idle Tears,' adapted by Mr. Clement Scott from the 'Marcel' of Jules Sandeau, 4 Dec. 1872; King Raymond in Albery's 'Oriana,' 5 Feb. 1873; Sir Henry Gaisford in Byron's 'Fine Feathers,' 26 April 1873; Toots in 'Heart's Delight,' adapted by Halliday from 'Dombey and Son,' 17 Dec. 1873; and Alfred Trimble in 'Committed for Trial,' Mr. Gilbert's adaptation of 'Le Reveillon,' 24 Jan. 1874. This was the last original character he played in England. He had also been seen in the 'Liar,' had played Max Harkaway in 'London Assurance,' Cyril in Byron's 'Cyril's Success/ Felix in Jerrold's 'Time works Wonders,' John Hawksley in ' Still Waters run deep,' and Claude Melnotte in the ' Lady of Lyons.' He also gave dramatic readings at Hanover Square Rooms. In 1874 he started for the United States, was in London in 1876, and assumed for a benefit, 27 July 1876, his original part of Jack Wyatt in 'Two Roses;' then returned to America, dying in San Francisco on 11 Aug. 1878, while on tour with a company playing 'Diplomacy.' A bright, versatile man, with a pleasant face and good figure and sociable manners, Montague was a favourite on and off the stage, founding convivial clubs in both London and New York. He had some earnestness and force, but was seen to most advantage in juvenile parts. His Claude Melnotte was poor, and in other serious parts he was not very successful.

[Personal reminiscences; Sunday Times newspaper, 1863-74; Era newspaper, 18 Oct. 1878; Era Almanack, 1879; Scott and Howard's Life and Reminiscences of E. L. Blanchard; Mr. and Mrs. Bancroft on and off the Stage.]

J. K.