- Barrett, Lawrence
- (1838-1891)Barrett was born in Paterson, New Jersey, and worked his way through an apprenticeship at Detroit's Metropolitan Theatre to an acting debut there in 1853. His New York debut came in 1857 and he quickly moved into leading man roles. After serving in the Union army during the Civil War , he resumed his acting career with an emphasis on Shakespearean roles: Richard III, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Shylock. Slight of build with sunken eyes and a reserved manner, Barrett hardly seemed equipped for the great tragic roles. Yet he was capable of unleashing a burst of passion for dramatic effect. His approach to acting could be seen as intellectualized or coldly calculated, yet his status as a star was never questioned. By all accounts, his great role was Cassius in Julius Caesar. After two decades of touring as a star, he joined forces with Edwin Booth for two seasons, 1887-1889, serving as tour manager while performing opposite Booth. William S. Hart, a member of the company on Barrett's 1889 Ganelon tour, recalled in his memoir that "his voice sometimes was a peculiar whine. But, oh, the moving quality! It seemed as though a breaking heart was in it!"See also James, Louis.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.