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 David Warfield

David Warfield

Birth
San Francisco, San Francisco County, California, USA
Death 27 Jul 1951 (aged 84)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA
Plot St Paul Section, Plot 180, Grave 1
Memorial ID 4741 · View Source
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Stage and character actor during the last decades of vaudeville. He is best remembered for his role of Peter Grimm, in the stage play "The Return of Peter Grimm." Born in San Francisco, California, Warfield began his theatrical career as an usher in the Bush Street Theater of San Francisco. When he was observed mimicking other actors, he was given a chance on stage, and soon was a local hit doing caricatures of famous people. He made his serious acting debut in 1888, in Napa, California, in the role of Melter Moss in the play "The Ticket-of-Leave Man," and would work for the next ten years in the Weber and Fields burlesque company, touring the country while performing plays. In 1890, he worked in New York at a concert hall, where John H. Russell hired him for a role in "The City Directory," and later worked for the New York Casino Company doing plays. Oddly enough, he was highly successful not on stage, but at a charity game at the NY Polo Grounds, between the casts of "The Merry World" and "Trilby," in which the actors dressed up for their parts as polo players. There Warfield dressed up as a peddler and sold cracked ice as souvenirs, with a flair that made all of the audience laugh. He was immediately successful in his invented role, and was hired to return to play the same role at other theatrical productions. Playwright and Producer David Belasco saw him, and wrote the play "The Auctioneer" (1901) with him in mind for the title role; the successful play ran on Broadway for the next three years, making Warfield well known to New York audiences. His next play, "The Music Master" made him a Broadway star, and had a record run. But he is best remembered for his role of the title character in "The Return of Peter Grimm." His one classical role was as Shylock, in "The Merchant of Venice" (1923). He would turn down offers to work in the new medium of films, and successfully invested his earnings in real estate with famed theater owner Marcus Loew, becoming one of the few stage actors to become a millionaire. He would often remark that his success as a character actor was due to the fact that "people want to weep sweetly."

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 17 Mar 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 4741
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for David Warfield (28 Nov 1866–27 Jul 1951), Find A Grave Memorial no. 4741, citing Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .