Online Encyclopedia

BARTON BOOTH (1681–1933)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V04, Page 238 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BARTON BOOTH (1681–1933), English actor, who came of a good Lancashire family, was educated at Westminster school, where his success in the Latin play Andria gave him an inclination for the stage. He was intended for the church; but in 1698 he ran away from Trinity College, Cambridge, and obtained employment in a theatrical company in Dublin, where he made his first appearance as Oroonoko. After two seasons in Ireland he returned to London, where Betterton, who on an earlier application had withheld his active aid, probably out of regard for Booth's family, now gave him all the assistance in his power. At Lincoln's Inn Fields (1700–1704) he first appeared as Maximus in Valentinian, and his success was immediate. He was at the Haymarket with Betterton from 1705 to 1708, and for the next twenty years at Drury Lane. Booth died on the loth of May 1733, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. His greatest parts, after the title-part of Addison's Cato, which established his reputation as a tragedian, were probably Hotspur and Brutus. His Lear was deemed worthy of comparison with Garrick's. As the ghost in Hamlet he is said never to have had a superior. Among his other Shakespearian roles were Mark Antony, Timon of Athens and Othello. He also played to perfection the gay Lothario in Rowe's Fair Penitent. Booth was twice married; his second wife, Hester Santlow, an actress of some merit, survived him. See Cibber, Lives and Characters of the most eminent Actors and Actresses (1753) ; Victor, Memoirs of the Life of Barton Booth (1733).
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