(1790–1861), actor. The striking, deep-voiced tragedian was considered a major rival to William Charles Macready when he made his American debut in 1837 as Coriolanus. Among his other noteworthy roles were Macbeth, Pierre in Venice Preserved, Shylock, Brutus, and Hamlet. Although the Knickerbocker complained of his “over-weening desire to impress his audience with the astonishing consequence of every movement portrayed, and every syllable expressed,” he found general acceptance during his several visits between his debut and 1844. James Murdoch felt he was “the finest tragedian of the classic school of acting ever seen on the American stage.” His son, George VANDENHOFF (1820–84), was also an actor who performed in England before making his American debut at the Park Theatre in 1842 as Hamlet. A tall, manly actor, he remained a popular performer, largely in Shakespearean roles, until his retirement in 1856. Joseph Ireland noted, “Although lacking the passion and intensity requisite for the loftiest assumptions of drama, Mr. Vandenhoff possessed all the accomplishments and elegances of mind and person demanded for the highest grades of genteel comedy and a wide range of serious parts somewhat subordinate to the standard of Shakespeare's subtlest creations.” He was also admired for his Hotspur, Falconbridge, and Benedick. After his retirement he practiced law for a time. Autobiography (George Vanderhoff): An Actor's Notebook; or the Green-Room and Stage, 1865.
From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.