Keene, Thomas W.

(1840-1898)
   Born Thomas R. Eagleson in New York City, the actor enjoyed considerable acclaim on the road during his years of touring as a star at the head of his own company. He presented the standard historical melodramas and Shakespearean tragedies in rotating repertory. His Richard III was a popular favorite, which he played more than 3,000 times. The Kansas City Star critic Austin Latchaw recalled (5 May 1935) that he "acted this part in the traditional, tempestuous fashion, charged from the first entrance with heavy and relentless villainy. . . . We used to wait for Keene's combat on Bosworth Field. It was a terrific encounter, taxing the strength and swordsmanship of both Richard and Richmond. It was one of Keene's tricks, when forced to the ground near the end of the fight, to rattle his sword on the floor before regaining his feet. It was great stuff for the galleries, but was not so far under the heads of even the first floor crowd. He was unquestionably the best American Richard, dramatically, for a good many years."

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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