Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Farren, Henry

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FARREN, HENRY (1826?-1860), actor, eldest son of William Farren [q. v.], is believed to have made his first appearance in London at the Haymarket, playing Charles Surface to the Sir Peter Teazle of his father. The date of this is not ascertained, but it was probably about 1847. In the October of that year he played at that house in a comedietta entitled ‘My Wife! What Wife?’ and was declared by the ‘Theatrical Times’ to be ‘the facsimile of his father.’ On 18 Nov. 1847 he was Arthur Courtnay in a comedy by Sullivan entitled ‘Family Pride,’ in which his father was Doctor Dodge. A year previously Henry Farren appears in provincial records. He was in June 1846 a member of the company at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham, and in August of the same year he played at the Theatre Royal, Manchester, Mercutio to the Romeo of G. V. Brooke, Charles Plastic in ‘Town and Country,’ and Charles Surface to his father's Sir Peter. On 8 Feb. 1847 he was at Nottingham. When William Farren quitted the Haymarket to assume the management of the Strand and the Olympic theatres he was accompanied by Henry Farren, who played leading parts in comedy without attracting much recognition. At the Olympic he was in November 1850 the original Fontaine in Dr. Westland Marston's ‘Philip of France and Marie de Méranie,’ played June 1851 in the ‘Ladies' Battle’ (an adaptation of Scribe's ‘Bataille de Dames’), and in October was Claude Melnotte in the ‘Lady of Lyons,’ Miss Laura Keene making her first appearance as Pauline. He was for a short time manager of the Brighton theatre. After his father's retirement in 1855 he went to America and made as Claude Melnotte his first appearance at the Broadway Theatre, New York, without creating a very strong impression. He then went starring in the country, finally settling down as manager of the theatre at St. Louis, where he died. He left a second wife, whom he married shortly before his death. His daughter Florence acted at the Victoria and Gaiety theatres before she married Mr. Edward Wroughton. Another daughter, Ellen,, is a well-known and popular actress in burlesque.

[New York Weekly Herald, quoted in Gent. Mag. for March 1860; Tallis's Dramatic Magazine; Theatrical Times, 1846–7; Era Almanack, various years.]

J. K.