The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Tree, Herbert Beerbohm

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TREE, Sir Herbert Beerbohm, English actor: b. London, 17 Dec 1853; d. 2 July 1917. He was a son of Julius Beerbohm, and was educated in England and Germany. After entering upon a business career he became interested in private theatricals, and adopted the profession of the stage in 1878. Succeeding in this, he assumed the management of the Haymarket Theatre in 1887, and became one of the most conspicuous of the actor-managers of recent times. After 1897 he played in his own theatre, Her Majesty's, one of the best constructed of London playhouses. He possessed great versatility, and played parts ranging from Hamlet to Falstaff. Tree achieved an early success in ‘The Private Secretary’ (1884). This was followed by Macari in ‘Called Back,’ and by the pan of the Russian Spy in ‘The Red Lamp’ (1887). In eccentric character parts he essayed the leading roles in ‘The Ballad-Monger’ and in ‘Trilby.’ In modern social drama he appeared in ‘A Bunch of Violets,’ ‘Captain Swift,’ ‘A Woman of No Importance,’ ‘John-a-Dreams,’ ‘The Dancing Girl’ and ‘The Tempter’; while of Shakespearean plays he produced ‘Merry Wives of Windsor,’ ‘Hamlet,’ ‘Henry IV’ and ‘The Taming of the Shrew.’ Stephen Phillips' ‘Herod’ was written for him. His publications include ‘The Imaginative Faculty,’ delivered as a lecture before the Royal Institution (1893); and other lectures on ‘Hamlet from an Actor's Prompt Book’; ‘Henry VIII and His Court’; ‘Thoughts and Afterthoughts’ (1913); ‘Nothing Matters’ (1916), etc. He received the honor of knighthood in 1909.