Boucicault, Dion

Boucicault, Dion

Boucicault, Dion, 1822?-1890, Anglo-Irish dramatist and actor. At 19 he had success with his play London Assurance at Covent Garden, London. In 1853 he went to the United States with his wife, Agnes Robertson, an actress who was the adopted daughter of Charles Kean. Boucicault became known for his work there as well as in London. A prolific writer who successfully employed theatrical tricks, he wrote or adapted over 300 farces, comedies, and melodramas, in which he often acted. The most notable of these were Grimaldi (1855), The Sidewalks of New York (1857), The Octoroon (1859), The Colleen Bawn (1860), Arrah-na-Pogue (1864), Rip Van Winkle (1865, with Joseph Jefferson), The O'Dowd (1873), and The Shaughraun (1874). The growth of the road company that performs one play owes much to Boucicault's influence.

See his Art of Acting (1916); study by R. G. Hogan (1969).

orig. Dionysius Lardner Boursiquot

(born Dec. 26, 1820/22, Dublin, Ire.—died Sept. 18, 1890, New York, N.Y., U.S.) Irish-born U.S. playwright. He began acting in 1837 and wrote the successful comedy London Assurance (1841) and The Corsican Brothers (1852). In 1853 he moved to New York City, where he was instrumental in obtaining the first copyright law for drama in the U.S. His successful play The Poor of New York (1857) was presented elsewhere—as, for example, The Poor of London. Concerned with social themes, he wrote a veiled attack on slavery in The Octoroon (1859). He also wrote a series of popular Irish plays, including The Colleen Bawn (1860) and The Shaughraun (1874).

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