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Henry Placide

(1799—1870)


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(1799–1870), actor. The son of rope dancer Alexandre Placide, he began performing in his father's shows while still a youngster. His debut as an adult was as Zekiel Homespun in The Heir-at-Law at the Park Theatre in 1823. Placide rapidly grew to be the most polished and celebrated comedian of his day, his famous roles including Bob Acres, Sir Anthony Absolute, Sir Peter Teazle, and Sir Harcourt Courtly, as well as major parts in now forgotten contemporary pieces. In 1866 Ireland wrote of him, “He is the only one who ever trod the American stage perfectly irresistible in humor, and yet entirely free from grimace and buffoonery. .. no other actor has ever so completely exemplified our idea of what a genuine comedian should be.” His sister, Jane PLACIDE (1804–35) was hailed as the “Queen of the Drama in New Orleans.” After her debut in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1820 she moved to New Orleans and remained there, except for brief tours, until 1833, excelling in such tragic roles as Lady Macbeth and Cordelia but also demonstrating skill at comedy. She died while still at the height of her powers and popularity.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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