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E.H. Sothern

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E.H. Sothern

"He speaks the verse as verse and yet as authentic human speech. He conveys an impression of complete naturalness while never slurring the iambic patter of his text." Ludwig Lewisohn

Sothern, E.(dward) H.ugh) (1859-1933) American born actor, son of E.A Sothern, who in 1879, provided his son the opportunity to make his acting debut in New York in the small role of a cabman in Brother Sam. Although smaller and more handsome than his father, he proved the more versatile actor and became one of the great Shakespeareans of his day. He was born in New Orleans and educated in England, where he planned a career as a painter. He gained his experience as an actor touring America and England in the companies of John McCullough, Helen Dauvray and others. In 1887, he was engaged by Daniel Frohman for his newly formed company at the Lyceum Theatre. He remained there for ten years. Among his successes were Jack Hammerston, the befuddled auctioneer who loves a baronet’s daughter and must buy back her bankrupt father’s estate, in The Highest Bidder (1887) and the title in Lord Chumley (1888). Sothern also quickly established himself as a dashing romantic hero and his greatest success came in the dual roles of the real Prince Rudolf and his look-alike impostor in The Prisoner of Zenda (1895). Still under Frohman’s management, Sothern broadened his range to poetic drama as the hero in Hauptmann’s The Sunken Bell and his first important Shakespeare in Hamlet. While at the Lyceum he married his first wife, the actress Virginia Harned. The two played together for many years. And it was under Frohman’s management that his fame reached its pinnacle in 1904, when he first appeared with Julia Marlowe in Romeo and Juliet. He subsequently co-starred with Miss Marlowe in a series of Shakespearean seasons and eventually married her in 1911. They reigned for a decade as America’s foremost Shakespearian players. His major roles included Benedick, Shylock, Anthony, and the one numerous critics felt was his best Malvolio. After Miss Marlowe retired in 1924, he continued to act on occasion. He wrote his memoires The Melancholy Tale of "Me", in 1916 and retired in 1927.

(click on photo to enlarge)

E. H. Sothern as a yong man-headshot-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (68276 bytes) E.H. Sothern-Portrait 1896-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (133784 bytes) E. H. Sothern as a young man sitting in chair-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (93557 bytes)
Portrait as a young man in 1896 Portrait
EH Sothern as Lord Chumley (1888)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (69217 bytes) E. H. Sothern in the Horse Auction Scene asCaptain Lettarblair-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (84113 bytes) E. H. Sothern as Captain Lettarblair Litton-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (161262 bytes)
as Lord Chumley
as Captain Lettarblair Litton in the Horse Auction scene  as Captain Lettarblair Litton
E. H. Sothern as Jack Hammerton in The Hightest Bidder 1-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (80017 bytes) E. H. Sothern as Jack Hammerton in The Hightest Bidder 2-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (79105 bytes) E. H. Sothern as Jack Hammerton in The Hightest Bidder3-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (80295 bytes)
as Jack Hammerton in The Highest Bidder as Jack Hammerton in The Highest Bidder as Jack Hammerton in The Highest Bidder
E. H. Sothern in The Prisoner of Zenda-head shot-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (117603 bytes) E. H. Sothern in The Prisoner of Zenda-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (124265 bytes)
in The Prisoner of Zenda in The Prisoner of Zenda
E.H. Sothern- Studio Portrait in 18th C costume-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (141103 bytes) Eh Sothern costume sketch for Part I of Hnery IV-Sketch-Color-Resized.jpg (139483 bytes)
E.H. Sothern's costume sketch for Part I of Henry IV 
E. H. Sothern as Hamlet with Yorick's skull-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (54291 bytes) E. H. Sothern as Hamlet-Photo-tinted-Resized.jpg (52148 bytes) EH Sothern as Hamlet with hat-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (52601 bytes)
as Hamlet as Hamlet (1902)

E. H. Sothern as Hamlet-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (42042 bytes)

E. H. Sothern's s Hamlet Playbill-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (28239 bytes)

EH Sothern & Julia Marlowe in Hamlet (1904)-Resized.jpg (84682 bytes)

as Hamlet (1902)  Hamlet Poster with Julia Marlowe in Hamlet (1904)
EH Sothern tinted postcard-Resized.jpg (69128 bytes) E. H. Sothern in long coat-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (91624 bytes) EH Sothern as Shylock-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (30263 bytes)
as Romeo as Shylock
E.H. Sother as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (69770 bytes) E. H. Sothern &  Julia Marlowe in Romeo & Juliet-The Balcony Scene-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (78752 bytes) E.H. Sothern-Portrait-Photo-Color-Resized.jpg (117758 bytes)
as Petruchio with Julia Marlowe in Romeo & Juliet Portrait as an older man
Joseph Haworth & E.H. Sothern

E. H Sothern met Joe Haworth in 1879. Young Sothern had made his New York stage debut at Abbey’s Park Theatre in his father E.A. Sothern’s vehicle Our American Cousin. Although the lad had only a few lines, he completely froze and had to be prompted by his father. The elder Sothern decided his son needed experience and persuaded The Boston Museum to employ him at no salary.

Only twenty years old, E. H. Sothern was extremely bashful and diffident. Women found it embarrassing to speak to him because he blushed so easily. This diffidence got him in hot water with the acting company almost immediately. When he was introduced to William Warren, the company’s leading actor, he got flustered and didn’t rise from his chair. An old friend of the elder Sothern, Warren thought nothing of it. But the other actors turned a cold shoulder to young Sothern, and it was Joe Haworth, already one of the company’s stars, who broke the ice and became E. H Sothern’s friend.

Joe stayed in a "swell" boarding house near Bowdoin Square in Boston. His fellow lodger and close friend was a newspaperman named Charles H. Hoyt, who was to become one of the most successful playwrights in America. Young Sothern would join Joe and Hoyt at restaurants and chophouses; the three young men would lay plans for the future, and listen to Hoyt’s brilliant sallies. Sothern was low man on the totem poll at the Museum, playing mostly non-speaking and one-line parts under an assumed name. He gained a great deal of self-confidence from his friendship with Joe and they remained life long friends.

In 1884, E. H. Sothern was in New York, broke and out of work. He heard that a Police Fund Benefit in Baltimore needed an attraction and sold his own script Whose Are They? for $300.00. Joe had just had a flop called The Fatal letter and was available, so the guys went to Baltimore and the play went over like wild fire. It was brought into the Star Theatre, New York, on May 27, 1884, got good reviews, did decent business, and played a short tour. Its plot turns on the mishaps of a husband afflicted with a tyrannical mother-in-law. The May 27, 1884 New York Times wrote: "Mr. Joseph Haworth’s portrayal of Theophilus Pocklington, the persecuted husband, could scarcely have been improved upon. Mr. Haworth’s comedy was, perhaps, a little over done, but it was imbued with so much earnestness and made sympathetic by so unceasing a flow of animal spirits as to be quite irresistible. Mr. Edward Sothern’s personation of Melchisedeo Flighty, a harmless lunatic, was just as good in its way, and, although somewhat conventional, exceedingly funny."

After working together in A Moral Crime, the two friends never shared a stage again. They were both now stars and traveled in their own orbits. Julia Marlowe saw the two men in A Moral Crime, and chose Joe to be the leading man in her New York Shakespearean debut. Some years later, she chose E. H. Sothern as her acting partner and husband. Throughout Joe’s life he remained close friends with the Sotherns, and they were godparents to William Haworth’s third son, named Edward Sothern Haworth.

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