Born in Brighton, Edward Smith Williard first appeared on the stage at age sixteen in Weymouth. Humorous and genteel, given to fine tailoring and elegant surrounding, E.S. Willard was a beloved presence in the theaters of North America. He commissioned playwrights to supply certain of his performing pieces. J.M. Barrie composed "The Professor's Love Story" for him. Louis N. Parker composed "The Cardinal" to Willard's specifications. Henry Arthur Jones wrote "Judah" in 1890 for him as a reward for the success Willard created for Jones's "The Middleman."
Willard sought verisimilitude in his characterization and was known for the painstaking care of his research into the circumstances of the personages he played. He toured the United States nearly annually on thirteen occasions after his first appearance in 1890 at Palmer's Theater. David S. Shields/ALS