- Fitch, Clyde
- (1865-1909)William Clyde Fitch was born in Elmira, New York, and felt isolated as a child because of his effeminacy. His sensitive manner brought him the leading female roles in Amherst College theatrical productions, while he studied for a career in architecture. After schooling, he moved to New York City and wrote short stories and plays, some of which were produced at the Boston Museum with success. Encouraged by critics Edward A. Dithmar and William Winter, Fitch wrote Beau Brummel (1890), which became a long-running success with actor Richard Mansfield in the title role. From this success until his death, Fitch completed 33 original plays and 27 adaptations or translations of foreign works.Fitch's most acclaimed works include Nathan Hale (1898), The Moth and the Flame (1898), The Cowboy and the Lady (1899), Barbara Frietchie (1899), The Climbers (1901), The Girl with the Green Eyes (1902), The Truth (1907), The Blue Mouse (1908), and The City (1909), as well as Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1901), a romantic comedy that provided Ethel Barrymore her Broadway debut role. Among Fitch's adaptations, Sapho (1900), taken from Alphonse Daudet's novel and starring Olga Nethersole, was closed by authorities as immoral. Many critics consider Fitch the most important American playwright of the early 20th century, despite his penchant for writing artificial happy endings to guarantee commercial success. Others applaud Fitch's eye for detail and facility for working effectively in a range of styles, from historical and romantic melodramas to realistic social problem plays and comedies.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.