- (1854-1907)Born in Berlin, Prussia, he spent his early childhood in European travels with his parents, Maurice Mansfield and opera singer Emma Rudersdorff. After his father died, his eccentric mother left him in boarding schools in London and Switzerland. When she achieved popularity as a singer in Boston, in 1872, his mother sent for him. Mansfield tried various business and artistic pursuits in Boston with little success, so he returned to England. For several years he barely subsisted on the streets of London until W. S. Gilbert hired him for a touring company of H. M. S. Pinafore. In 1882, he returned to America and began his quarter-century as one of the finest intellectual actors of his day. Despite his acclaimed performances in A Parisian Romance (1883), Prince Karl (1886), Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1887), Richard III (1889), Beau Brummel (1890), Cyrano de Bergerac (1895), King Henry V (1900), and many others, his career path was uneven, largely due to his leg-endarily hot temper and his lack of social graces. William Winter wrote a biography, The Life and Art of Richard Mansfield (1910).
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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