Dictionary of National Biography, 1901 supplement/Creswick, William

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CRESWICK, WILLIAM (1813–1888), actor, was born on 27 Dec. 1813 near Covent Garden, London. As Master Collins he appeared in 1 831 at a theatre in the Commercial Road, playing an Italian boy in a drama on the subject of 'burking.' After practice with travelling companies in Kent and Suffolk, he played leading business on the York circuit, where he met Miss Paget, whom subsequently he married. His first appearance in London was at the Queen's theatre, Tottenham Street, under Mrs. Nisbett, on 16 Feb. 1835, as Horace Meredith in Jerrold's 'Schoolfellows.' He took part in a failing experiment under Penley at the Lyceum, then returned into the country. On 25 July 1846 he joined Phelps's company at Sadler's Wells, playing Hotspur, and afterwards one or two other parts. On the reappearance of Mrs. Butler [see Kemble, Frances Ann] he played in April 1847, at the Princess's, Master Walter in the 'Hunchback' to her Julia, and subsequently supported her in other characters. At the same house he played with Macready. At the Haymarket he appeared in July as Claude Melnotte to the Pauline of Helen Faucit. On 4 Oct. he was the first Vivian Temple in Marstoii's 'Heart and the World.' He was also seen as Trueworth in the 'Love Chase,' Mordaunt in the ' Patrician's Daughter,' Proteus in 'Two Gentlemen of Verona' (December 1848), Ghost in 'Hamlet,' and Cassio. With Richard Shepherd he began, 17 Sept. 1849, the management of the Surrey, opening as Alasco in Knowles's 'Rose of Arragon.' At the Surrey he appeared as the Stranger, Virginius, Richelieu, Hamlet, &c.; was, 18 Feb. 1849, the first Laroque in H. F. Chorley's ' Old Love and New Fortune,' and was seen as Damon in 'Damon and Pythias,' Adam Bede, &c. Retiring from management in 1862, he played at Drury Lane and other theatres Othello, lago, Macbeth, and Iachimo. Joining again Shepherd in 1866, he played, on 8 Sept., Martin Truegold in Slous's prize nautical drama, 'True to the Core.' In 1871 he went for the second time to America, made his first appearance as Joe in 'Nobody's Child,' a part in which he had been seen at the Surrey on 14 Sept. 1867, and played with Charlotte Cushman and Edwin Booth. In 1877, after accepting at the Gaiety a benefit, in which he played Macbeth, he went to Australia, where he opened at Melbourne as Virginius, and was very popular. Creswick was occasionally seen in London, chiefly in Shakespeare. For his farewell benefit he appeared at Drury Lane on 29 Oct. 1885, in a scene from 'Lear,' forming part of a miscellaneous entertainment. Other parts in which he was accepted were King John, Joseph Surface, Varney in 'Amy Robsart,' and Cromwell in Wills's ' Buckingham.' Creswick died on 17 June 1888, and was buried at Kensal Green. He belonged to the old-fashioned and oratorical school, of which he was one of the last survivors. He was popular in tragedy, and won acceptance in melodrama, but had little subtlety or insight.

[Personal knowledge; Pascoe's Dramatic List; Scott and Howard's Blanchard; Dramatic and Musical Review; Era, 23 June 1888; Sunday Times, various years.]

J. K.