1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Boucicault, Dion
BOUCICAULT, DION (1822–1890), Irish actor and playwright, was born in Dublin on the 26th of December 1822, the son of a French refugee and an Irish mother. Before he was twenty he was fortunate enough to make an immediate success as a dramatist with London Assurance, produced at Covent Garden on the 4th of March 1841, with a cast that included Charles Matthews, William Farren, Mrs Nesbitt and Madame Vestris. He rapidly followed this with a number of other plays, among the most successful of the early ones being Old Heads and Young Hearts, Louis XI., and The Corsican Brothers. In June 1852 he made his first appearance as an actor in a melodrama of his own entitled The Vampire at the Princess’s theatre. From 1853 to 1869 he was in the United States, where he was always a popular favourite. On his return to England he produced at the Adelphi a dramatic adaptation of Gerald Griffin’s novel, The Collegians, entitled The Colleen Bawn. This play, one of the most successful of modern times, was performed in almost every city of the United Kingdom and the United States, and made its author a handsome fortune, which he lost in the management of various London theatres. It was followed by The Octoroon (1861), the popularity of which was almost as great. Boucicault’s next marked success was at the Princess’s theatre in 1865 with Arrah-na-Pogue, in which he played the part of a Wicklow carman. This, and his admirable creation of Con in his play The Shaughraun (first produced at Drury Lane in 1875), won him the reputation of being the best stage Irishman of his time. In 1875 he returned to New York City and finally made his home there, but he paid occasional visits to London, where his last appearance was made in his play, The Jilt, in 1886. The Streets of London and After Dark were two of his late successes as a dramatist. He died in New York on the 18th of September 1890. Boucicault was twice married, his first wife being Agnes Robertson, the adopted daughter of Charles Kean, and herself an actress of unusual ability. Three children, Dion (b. 1859), Aubrey (b. 1868) and Nina, also became distinguished in the profession.