- (1866-1951)Born David Wollfeld (or Wohlfelt) in San Francisco, the actor had inauspicious theatrical beginnings as an usher. He then played bit parts at the Bush Street Theatre in his hometown. A move to New York brought him comedic Jewish roles at the Casino Theatre. Major success came when David Belasco cast him as the title character in The Auctioneer (1901). More Belasco-produced triumphs followed: The Music Master (1904), A Grand Army Man (1907), and The Return of Peter Grimm (1911). These plays earned Warfield a fortune on tour even as he challenged the Theatrical Syndicate. He challenged himself in 1922 by playing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. He received mixed reviews, but the production ran for 92 performances in New York, and Warfield toured in it for two years prior to retiring.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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