Lionel Atwill


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Lillie Langtry (1853—1929) actress

Alla Nazimova (1879—1945)

Arthur Hopkins (1878—1950)

Helen Hayes (1900—1993)


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(1885–1946), actor. After a long career in his native England, he came to America in 1915 to tour with Lillie Langtry, staying to produce and star in the mystery play The Lodger (1917). Several quick failures followed before he won attention in 1918 playing the leading male roles opposite Alla Nazimova in Arthur Hopkins's revivals of The Wild Duck, Hedda Gabler, and A Doll's House. He also shone as the politician Clive Cooper in Tiger! Tiger! (1918), the sadly beset pantomimist Deburau (1920), the bittersweet title roles in The Grand Duke (1921) and The Comedian (1923), and the put-upon inventor Anton Rogatsky in The Outsider (1924). In a change of pace the following year Atwill played Caesar opposite the Cleopatra of Helen Hayes. Thereafter he appeared mostly in failures until he left to spend his last years in films. Atwill was a fine character actor with a curiously quizzical, doleful face and an elegant playing style.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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