Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Warren, William (actor)

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WARREN, William, actor, b. in Bath, England, 10 May, 1767; d. in Washington, D. C., 19 Oct., 1832. His first appearance was as Young Norval in Home's tragedy of “Douglas.” Soon afterward Warren came to this country, making his début at Baltimore, Md., as Friar Lawrence in “Romeo and Juliet.” In 1805 he went to England, as agent for the Philadelphia theatre, to collect a company of comedians, and on his return in 1806 he married the actress, Mrs. Ann Merry (q. v.). Later, Warren became manager of the Chestnut street theatre in Philadelphia, where he made his last appearance on 25 Nov., 1829, as Robert Bramble in the “Poor Gentleman.” — His son, William, actor, b. in Philadelphia, 17 Nov., 1812; d. in Boston, 12 Sept., 1888, was educated at the Franklin institute, Philadelphia. He also made his first appearance as Young Norval at the Arch street theatre in that city, 27 Oct., 1832. After continuing for some time in his native place, he appeared in New York, Boston, and other cities, playing in various characters, from broad and eccentric comedy to juvenile tragedy, with general acceptance. In 1845 Warren appeared at the Strand theatre in London, and a year later, for the extraordinary term of thirty-five years, he was permanently connected with the Howard athenæum in Boston. There he was held in special esteem, both as a man and artist, and retired from that theatre and his profession on 7 Nov., 1882, with a complimentary benefit. Toward the last Warren was particularly successful in rendering the roles of fine old English gentlemen. He was a cousin of Joseph Jefferson, and one of the few recent actors who, in their own persons, represented the early age of the American drama. Sir Peter Teazle in “The School for Scandal,” Dr. Pangloss in “The Heir at Law,” and Touchstone in “As You Like It,” were among his noted characters.