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Adelaid Nielson

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Adelaide Neilson

"The best representative of Shakespeare's Juliet, Viola, and Imogen who had appeared on the stage in our time." William Winter

Neilson, [Lillian] Adelaide (née Elizabeth Ann Brown) (1848-1880) English actress born in Leeds. Her own life was as tragic as some of the heroines she played. She was the illegitimate daughter of an actress and spent her childhood and early life living in poverty and doing menial labor. She ran away to London under the name Lizzie Ann Bland and made a living as a Shakespeare reciting barmaid near the Haymarket. She made her stage debut in 1865 in Margate, England as Julia the The Hunchback (a role with which she was long associated), and in July of the same year she appeared as Juliet at the Royal Theatre, London. For the next several years she performed at several London and provincial theatres. Her quality was one of the combination of gleeful childhood vitality and womanly pathos. She was a highly regarded Juliet and Viola and her other outstanding roles included Rosalind, Rebecca (Ivanhoe), Beatrice, and Isabella (Measure for Measure). She was a great beauty and her voice was described as musical. She first performed in the United States in November 1872 as Juliet at Booth’s Theatre and afterwards toured the country. She returned to this country in 1875, 1877 and 1879, each time with much success. She married Philip Henry Lee in 1872, but was divorced in 1877. She died suddenly in Paris on August 15, 1880, at the age of 32.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Adelaide Neilson as Juliet (1872)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (27565 bytes)

Adelaide Neilson (1846-1880) Portrait ( taken in1872)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (36120 bytes)

Adelaide Neilson as Viola in Twelfth Night (1876)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (35158 bytes)

as Juliet 1872 as Viola
Adelaide Neilson cameo portrait-Resized.jpg (33165 bytes) Adelaide Neilson autograph.jpg (24386 bytes) Adelaide Neilson (1846-1880) Portrait-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (89531 bytes)
Portrait Autograph Portrait
Joseph Haworth & Adelaide Neilson

As a stage-struck Cleveland boy, Joseph Haworth sat in the top balcony of John Ellsler's Academy of Music, and saw Adelaide Neilson play Rosalind in As You Like It. By 1877, Joseph Haworth was a leading actor himself in Mr. Ellsler's theatre, and the twenty-one year old took a leave from the company to debut in New York with Anna Dickinson in Crown of Thorns at the Eagle Theatre. When the play was poorly received and folded early, the Eagle management substituted The Hunchback in which Joe played "Sir Thomas Clifford" and Macbeth in which he played "Malcolm." At the end of this engagement, Joe was immediately hired by Daly’s Theatre to play "Benvolio" in Romeo and Juliet and "Guiderius" in Cymbeline with Daly's leading actress Adelaide Nielson. These were the only supporting roles Joe ever played on the New York Stage. From then on, New York audiences only saw him in leads.

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