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Kyrle Bellew

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Kyrle Bellew

"He poses and struts, yet one has to confess that his poses are graceful, and his struttings recall a pleasurable memory of days gone by. His voice is not strong, but is sweet of tone and falls pleasantly upon the ear, and his enunciation is sufficiently, though not convincingly clear. The impression he makes today [1902] is quite the same as that upon which he seemed to us to rely so many years ago, and which is best described by the adjective ‘pulchritudinous.’" Harper’s Weekly

Bellew, [Harold] Kyrle (1855-1911) British-born actor. Son of a popular preacher and public reader, Bellew served in the Royal Navy and merchant marine. He emigrated to Australian in 1870 to become a gold miner, but abandoned this in 1874, for the stage. His English debut was in Brighton on August 30, 1875. Subsequently, he acted with the Bancrofts and with Henry Irving.

He came to America in 1855 and made his debut with Wallack’s company as Hubert Hastings in In His Power. He continued with the company for two years, playing classic roles such as Captain Absolute and parts in popular melodramas of the day such as Lt. Kingsley in Harbour Lights and the title role in an adaptation of Tom Jones.

For several years in the 1890’s he toured as leading man to Mrs. J. Brown-Potter, a rich woman determined to make her mark as an actress. Once again his assignments moved from contemporary parts to classics such as Antony and Romeo.

He retired from the stage and spent several years in Australia, where he is reputed to have made a modest fortune.

In 1901, he returned to America and the stage to assume the title role in a swashbuckler, A Gentleman of France, playing opposite Eleanor Robson. The next year he portrayed Charles Surface in The School for Scandal. In 1903, he again was partnered with Miss Robson, performing Romeo to her Juliet.

After that production closed he scored a major success in the tile role of Raffles. His Chevalier de Vaudrey was praised in an all-star revival of The Two Orphans (1904).

Miss Robson was Kate Hardcastle to his Marlow in a 1905 mounting of She Stoop to Conquer.

His greatest success came as Richard Voysin in Henri Bernstein’s The Thief (1907). His last two performances were in failures, The Builder of Bridges (1909) and The Scandal (1910).

Noted for his graceful bearing and beautiful voice, he excelled in polite comedy. His pictures suggest that in after-years he bore a resemblance to the later President, Warren G. Harding.

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Kyrle Bellew & Eleanor Robson in A Gentleman of France-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (91839 bytes)

Kyrle Bellew portrait in profile-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (93875 bytes)

Kyrle Bellew & Eleanor Robson in She Stoops to Conquer-Photo-B&WResized.jpg (89102 bytes)

with Eleanor Robson in
A Gentleman of France
Portrait with Eleanor Robson in
She Stoops to Conquer
Kyrle Bellew & E.M. Holland in Raffles-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (87704 bytes) Kyrle Bellew in The Scandal (1910)-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (64164 bytes) Kyrle Bellew in toga-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (59536 bytes)
with E.M. Holland in Raffles The Scandal
Kyrle Bellew (center) in The Builder of Bridges-Photo-B&W-Resized.jpg (112044 bytes)
in The Builder of Bridges
Joseph Haworth & Kyrle Bellew

Joe’s one appearance with Kyrle Bellew came in 1887, an extraordinary year in young Haworth’s burgeoning career. In January he performed Hoodman Blind at New York’s Grand Opera House and then toured the play nationally throughout the spring. In August, September and October, he toured in Rosedale under the direction of the play’s author and original star Lester Wallack. Returning to New York in November, he was added to the cast of Mrs. Potter’s recent London success Loyal Love.

Mrs. Potter was a society actress with a big following. Kyrle Bellew was her handsome leading man and theatrical manager. The New York edition of Loyal Love was fraught with difficulties and postponements. Somewhere in the process, Joe Haworth was brought into the cast as the play’s villain to strengthen the performance of the verse drama. Despite reservations from the critics, the story of intrigue in the Portuguese court filled the Fifth Avenue Theatre for its entire engagement. The November 15, 1887 New York Times said of Haworth:

"Mr. Joseph Haworth devoted his fine talent to the character of Gonzales. His acting was well studied and generally effective. He put nature into shallow artifice. His soliloquy on the steps of the throne at the close of Act One seemed an object lesson in the art of acting."

When Loyal Love closed, Joseph Haworth moved right on to a co-starring engagement in Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, and Ingomar opposite Julia Marlowe at the Star Theatre. Remarkably, he then closed the year at the Standard Theatre with a great commercial success in Steele Mackaye’s Paul Kauvar.

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