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Edmund Shaw Simpson

(1784—1848)


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(1784–1848), actor and manager. Born in England, his debut occurred at Towchester in 1806 in The Stranger. While performing in Dublin three years later he was signed by Thomas Cooper and Stephen Price to appear at the Park Theatre, and his American bow was in The Road to Ruin (1809). He was greeted with “the warmest approbation” and quickly established himself as a versatile performer. Among his early roles were Charles Teazle, Jaffier, and Richmond, which he played to the Richards of both Edmund Kean and Junius Brutus Booth. In 1812 Simpson was appointed acting manager of the Park, and in 1815 he became Price's partner in the theatre. He was injured during a performance in 1828 and was permanently crippled, yet he continued to perform until 1833, after which he played only on special occasions. Following Price's death in 1840, he attempted to run the theatre alone, but the theatre district had moved northward and the Park encountered continual financial problems. Shortly before his own death he sold out to Hamblin. Whatever the failures of his last years (and they were overcome briefly by the successful premieres of London Assurance and Fashion), he remained a popular and respected figure with New York playgoers and critics.

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.


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