George Vandenhoff


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(1820–84), British-born American actor, son of John Vandenhoff (1790–1861), a good actor who nevertheless failed to reach a commanding position. George first appeared at Covent Garden in 1839, playing Mercutio in Mme Vestris's production of Romeo and Juliet. In 1842 he went to New York, and after making a successful début at the Park Theatre as Hamlet decided to remain there. He was later leading man at both the Chestnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia and at Palmo's Opera House, later the Chambers Street Theatre, in New York. He was admired as Benedick in Much Ado about Nothing and Claude Melnotte in Bulwer-Lytton's The Lady of Lyons. In 1845 he staged an English translation of Sophocles' Antigone, with music by Mendelssohn, on a stage approximating to the contemporary idea of a Greek theatre. He returned to London in 1853, and after a brief appearance as Hamlet went into retirement, having little liking for the profession he had so successfully adopted. A tall, scholarly man, somewhat aloof, he made a final appearance on the stage in 1878, playing Wolsey in Henry VIII to the Katharine of Geneviève Ward.

From The Concise Oxford Companion to the Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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