1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alexander, George

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ALEXANDER, GEORGE (1858- ), English actor, whose family name was Samson, was born in Reading on the 19th of June 1858, the son of a Scottish manufacturer. He went into business in London after leaving school, but having acted as an amateur he determined to make the stage his profession. His first appearance was at Nottingham in 1879, and after some seasons of provincial experience he made his first London appearance as Caleb Deecie in Two Roses in 1881 with Irving at the Lyceum. He was selected by W. S. Gilbert to support Mary Anderson in Comedy and Tragedy, returned for a time to the Lyceum, where he was Irving's principal associate, especially as Faust (1886) and Macduff (1888); and, after starting successfully under his own management at the Avenue Theatre in 1890 with Dr Bill, in 1891 became manager of the St James's Theatre. There he produced a number of successful plays, notably Oscar Wilde's Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of being Earnest, Pinero's Second Mrs Tanqueray, The Princess and the Butterfly, His House in Order and The Thunderbolt; C. Haddon Chamber's The Idler; H. A. Jones's The Masqueraders; Alfred Sutro's John Glayde's Honour and The Builder of Bridges; Carton's Liberty Hall and The Tree of Knowledge; Anthony Hope's Prisoner of Zenda and Rupert of Hentzau; and Stephen Phillips's Paolo and Francesca, himself playing the leading parts with great distinction. In 1907 he was elected a member of the London County Council as a municipal reformer, but continued to act regularly at the St James's.