Augustin Duncan


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(1873–1954), actor and director. After making his debut in 1893 in his native San Francisco, he toured for seven years before first appearing in New York in 1900 as Jamy opposite the Henry V of Richard Mansfield. Duncan continued to play opposite such celebrated figures as William Gillette and Charles Coburn in increasingly important roles both in New York and London. In 1919 he was a charter member of the Theatre Guild, and his performance in the title role of John Ferguson as well as his direction of the play helped give the new company its first success. After he separated from the Guild over artistic differences, Duncan both directed and acted in such productions as The Cradle Song (1921), The Detour (1921), The First Man (1922), Hell-Bent for Heaven (1924), and Juno and the Paycock (1926). He also directed plays in which he did not appear, such as Kempy (1922). In the late 1920s his eyesight began to fail and by the early 1930s Duncan was blind. Nevertheless, he continued to perform, playing John of Gaunt and the Ghost in Maurice Evans's productions of Richard II (1937) and Hamlet (1938) and making his last appearance as the Father in Lute Song (1946). He was the brother of the famed dancer Isadora Duncan.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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