- (1854-1928)Robert Bruce Mantell was born in Ayrshire, Scotland, and ran away from home in order to be an actor in England. After two brief, unsuccessful visits to America, he made his New York debut in 1883, opposite Fanny Davenport in Fedora at the Fourteenth Street Theatre. His performance the following season in Called Back was hailed in the New York Times (2 September 1884): "His graceful stage presence and musical voice, which is managed with great skill, are as effective as they were in Sardou's play, and in the two most striking scenes . . . , Mr. Mantell is given the opportunity to exhibit some of the power which made him the lion of the day among theatre-goers last season." After touring for several seasons in old romantic historical melodramas like Monbars, he remade himself as a Shakespearean actor and, according to Lewis C. Strang, was "remarkably successful in catching the popular ear" through his personal magnetism and direct rapport with his audiences.
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.
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