Walter Hampden’s profile picture

Walter Hampden

Actor, Miscellaneous Crew
Walter Hampden’s profile picture
Net worth 2018: Under Review
Industry: Actor
Residence:  Brooklyn, New York, USA
BirthDay: 30 June 1879
Sigh: Cancer
Died On: June 11, 1955(1955-06-11) (aged 75) Los Angeles, California, US
BIOGRAPHY

Walter Hampden was one of the great American stage actors and the only performer, aside from Maurice Evans, to play Hamlet three times on Broadway in the post-World War I-era. Born Walter Hampden Dougherty on June 30, 1879, in Brooklyn, New York, he learned his craft in London, where he made his debut as a professional actor in 1901 with the Frank Benson Stock Company. He spent six years apprenticing in England, where he was thoroughly trained as a classical actor. When he returned to the US in 1907, he toured with the great Russian actress Alla Nazimova in a presentation of the plays of Henrik Ibsen.Hampden played "Hamlet" on Broadway in 1918-1919, in 1925 (with Ethel Barrymore as his Ophelia at his own Hampden's Theatre), and in 1934. His greatest role was that of Edmond Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac," a part he first performed in 1923 and that he repeated four more times on the Great White Way.In 1925 he took over management of the Colonial Theatre, a vaudeville house on Upper Broadway, and renamed it Hampden's Theatre. After christening his house with his second Hamlet on October 10, 1925, he played there with his own company through 1930. Later, Hampden helped launch the American Repertory Theatre, playing Cardinal Wolsey in William Shakespeare's "Henry VIII."Hampden became revered as the grand old man of the American theater. He was president of the Players' Club for 27 years. His last distinguished role on Broadway was in Arthur Millers parable of McCarthyism, "The Crucible," capping a career that spanned a half-century.Walter Hampden died on June 11, 1955, just three weeks shy of his 76th birthday.

TIMELINE
2019

Aside from Barrymore's acclaimed performance, the greatest Hamlet assayed by an American actor was that of Edwin Booth, who played the role three times on Broadway in the 19th century

1996

Subsequent cinematic Cyrano Gérard Depardieu also appeared in Branagh's film Hamlet (1996)

1992

Stephen Lang, who played the Dane in 1992, is the only other American in more than three-quarters of a century to star in "Hamlet" on Broadway

1974

After returning to the Broadway fold as a legitimate house in 1974 (the Harkness Theatre), it was razed in 1977

1962

Hampden owned and operated Hampden's Theatre on Broadway at 62nd St

1960

The other British subjects to play the role on Broadway in that period were Sir John Gielgud (considered by many to be THE Hamlet of the 20th century), Leslie Howard, Sir Donald Wolfit, future Canadian Stratford Festival founder John Neville, Richard Burton, Nicol Williamson (considered by some to be the definitive portrayal of the late 1960s) and Ralph Fiennes, who won a Tony in the role

1956

Cedric Hardwicke, who played Hampden's chief advisor in The Vagabond King (1956), played his evil brother Frollo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)

1955

Walter Hampden died on June 11, 1955, just three weeks shy of his 76th birthday

1952

The Frenchman Jean-Louis Barrault followed in his countrywoman Sarah Bernhardt's steps and played Hamlet on Broadway, he in 1952, she in 1900

1950

As a sort of "in-joke", it is Hampden who appears as the long-winded elderly stage actor who gives Anne Baxter her award statuette in the first scene of All About Eve (1950)

1947

He coached Ronald Colman in the scenes from "Othello" that Colman played in A Double Life (1947)

1939

Hampden never played a leading role in films, as he nearly always did on stage and as he once did on television, but he headed the supporting cast in such films as The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939) and The Vagabond King (1956)--his last, and posthumously released, film

1931

In 1931, the Hampden became a movie house, the RKO Colonial Theatre

1930

) Hampden staged 16 plays, in total, at the theater, including his great success "Cyrano de Bergerac," before closing the theater in March 1930 as The Great Depression began its oppression of the New York theater during the Thirties

1925

Hampden and his company opened his theater on October 10, 1925 with "Hamlet

1923

After the 1923 production of "Cyrano de Bergerac", Hampden brought his Cyrano back to Broadway four more times - in 1926, 1928, 1932 and 1936, though not always with the same actors playing the same roles

1922

From 1922, when John Barrymore staged his first Hamlet, until 1975, when Sam Waterston assayed the role, Barrymore and Hampden were the only American actors to play Hamlet on Broadway

1918

Hampden played the role three times on the Great White Way: in 1918, 1925 and 1929

1907

When he returned to the US in 1907, he toured with the great Russian actress Alla Nazimova in a presentation of the plays of Henrik Ibsen

1900

Active on stage from the early 1900s, he did not make his sound film debut until 1939

1879

Born Walter Hampden Dougherty on June 30, 1879, in Brooklyn, New York, he learned his craft in London, where he made his debut as a professional actor in 1901 with the Frank Benson Stock Company

20

" (It was the second time he had tackled the role; Ethel Barrymore, sister of his Shakespearian rival John Barrymore, the great American Hamlet of the 20th century, was his Ophelia

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