Whiteside, Walker


Whiteside, Walker
(1869-1942)
   Born in Logansport, Indiana, Whiteside developed an early interest in theatre after being taken to Chicago to see Edwin Booth perform Hamlet. During a summer visit to his uncle in Kansas City, he had the opportunity to perform readings at the Gilliss Opera House, and this convinced his uncle to underwrite the teen's professional debut in the title role of Richard III in Chicago. By the time he was 24, the small-statured but rich-voiced actor had his own company, with which he made his New York debut at Union Square Theatre on 10 April 1893. Audiences came to scoff at the unknown Hamlet, but quickly recognized his talent and kept the production running. Whiteside wrote a number of historical costume dramas to intersperse his Shakespeare plays, but he switched to character roles after a theatre fire destroyed his entire stock of costumes and scenery in 1901. He continued to tour, outliving his reputation as the "boy Hamlet," preferring to be remembered as "a good trouper."

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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