William J. Florence

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William Jermyn Conlin
William J Florence 001.jpg
aka William J. Florence
Born (1831-07-26)July 26, 1831
Albany, New York, United States
Died November 19, 1891(1891-11-19) (aged 60)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

William Jermyn Conlin (July 26, 1831 – November 19, 1891)[1] better known by his stage name William J. Florence, was a US actor, songwriter, and playwright. Florence was one of a select number of Americans to win the ribbon of the French Societe Histoire Dramatique.[2] He was also co-founder with Walter M. Fleming of the Shriners, a Masonic Order.

Biography[edit]

Born of Irish parents and raised in New York City, Florence worked at various jobs before becoming a call boy at the Old Bowery Theater. While working to support his widowed mother and her seven younger children, he rehearsed plays at night, and in 1850 he began to do dialect impersonations. In 1853 he married Malvina Pray,[3] and thereafter the two generally appeared together on the stage — he usually as an Irishman and she as a Yankee. From Malvina's observation of wealthy American on vacation abroad, Florence asked Benjamin Edward Woolf to write The Mighty Dollar, that the couple would perform in over 2,500 times during the mid-1870s and well into the 1880s.[4]

Conlin was fond of Florence, Italy, where he had an apartment for his trips abroad, and adopted the city for his stage name.[5] At some point after he became famous under this name, he secured the legal right to it.[1]

Florence's first success was in A Row at the Lyceum (1851); following this, he established his reputation as Captain Cuttle in Dombey and Son, Bob Brierly in The Ticket-of-Leave Man, and Sir Lucius O’Trigger in The Rivals. His last appearance was as Zekiel Homespun in a production of Heir-at-Law.[1] Florence is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York


Literature[edit]

  • McKay and Wingate, Famous American Actors of To-Day (New York, 1896)
  • Matthews and Hutton, Actors and Actresses of Great Britain and the United States (New York, 1886)
  • Winter, The Wallet of Time (New York, 1913)

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Florence passes away". New York Times. November 20, 1891. Retrieved 2007-10-26. 
  2. ^ Britannica, Micropædia Ready Reference, University of Chicago, Vol 4, p 839, 1988
  3. ^ Note. Sister of actress Maria Pray, wife of actor Barney Williams - Derby, George, White, James Terry - The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 5, 1897, p. 440 - Mrs. Barney Williams Dead-The New York Times, May 7, 1911, p. 11
  4. ^ The Mighty Dollar.- The Indiana Democrat; February 18, 1886; pg. 4
  5. ^ Gaylor Bronson Conlin, Sr., b. 1913, d. 10-17-2004

References[edit]

External links[edit]