- (1872-1933)Born in Hartford, Connecticut, Winchell Smith inauspiciously commenced his theatrical career as an usher at the Herald Square Theatre where Richard Mansfield encouraged him to try acting. He debuted in a secondary role in William Gillette's Secret Service (1896) and acted for several years in such plays as The New Clown (1902), The Two Schools (1902), The Girl from Kay's (1903), The Man of Destiny (1905), and John Bull's Other Island (1905), but within a decade became a highly successful playwright and director. He won popularity with the farce Brewster's Millions (1906), followed by Polly of the Circus (1907; coauthored by Margaret Mayo), Via Wireless (1908), The Fortune Hunter (1909), Love among the Lions (1910), Bobby Burnit (1910), The Only Son (1911), The Boomerang (1915; with Victor Mapes), Turn to the Right! (1916; with John E. Hazzard), and the highly successful Lightnin' (1918; with Frank Bacon). He directed productions of his own plays, and works by others, including The Last of Mrs. Cheyney (1925), The Wisdom Tooth (1926), and The Vinegar Tree (1930).
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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