Holbrook Blinn


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(1872–1928), actor. Remembered by Ward Morehouse as “a steadying and inspirational influence. .. an actor of extraordinary finesse and charm,” he made his debut in his native San Francisco as a child in an 1878 production of The Streets of New York. Blinn's first New York appearance was as Corporal Ferry in The New South (1893). After some years of playing increasingly important roles both in New York and London, he made his mark as Napoleon in The Duchess of Dantzic (1903, London; 1905, New York), a musical version of Sardou's Madame Sans-Gêne. His star rose in 1908 when he joined Mrs. Fiske to play Jim Platt, the jailbird-lover, in Salvation Nell, Karsten Bernick to her Lona in Pillars of Society, and her leading man in The Green Cockatoo and Hannele (all in 1910). Blinn's first starring role was the ruthless politician Michael Regan, a corrupt man reformed by a loving wife, in The Boss (1911). When the Princess Theatre opened in 1913, he was active in promoting its program of experimental plays, acting in and staging many of them. Some of his subsequent successes include Lord Illington opposite Margaret Anglin in a 1916 revival of A Woman of No Importance, Georges Duval in a multistar revival of The Lady of the Camellias (1917), Orrin Palmer in the war play Getting Together (1918), Louis XIV in Molière (1919), Henry Winthrop, an enlightened conservative, in The Challenge (1919), Pancho Lopez (read Pancho Villa) in The Bad Man (1920), the bandit Don José in The Dove (1925), and Sandor Turai in the comedy The Play's the Thing (1926).

From The Oxford Companion to American Theatre in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Theatre.

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