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William H. Crane

Biography: 

(1845-1928)

A singing comedian, William H. Crane partnered for fourteen years with Stuart Robson in the 1880s to form one of the popular tandem acts in theater. They had first paired as the Dromios in Shakespeare's "Comedy of Errors," enjoyed further success in "Our Boarding House," before achieving co-stardom in "The Henrietta."

Crane's acting career began in 1863 working with the Harriet Holman Opera Company, with whom he toured for eight years. He then joined the Alice Oates Company, an early exponent of American comic opera. Crane regarded himself as a solid performer who became an accidental star because of his fortuitous partnership with Robson. The tempering of egotism made him a very capable actor-manager. Late in his life he administered the Garrick Theatre in New York quite successfully. He also enjoyed a signature role in "David Harum" a part that he perfomed on the silent screen as well as the stage.

During the second decade of the 20th century he was considered the Dean of the American Stage, the actor with the longest experience. David S. Shields/ALS