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John T. Ford
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Promoter
    (April 16, 1829-March 14, 1894)
    Born in Baltimore, Maryland
    Owned Ford's Theatre in Washington, DC
    Also owned theaters in Alexandria, Virginia; Richmond; Baltimore; Philadelphia; and Charleston, South Carolina
    He is remembered less for any of his shows than for the fact that Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford's Theatre.
    His first success was writing for minstrel shows.
    He was friends with assassin John Wilkes Booth.
    After the assassination, Ford's Theatre was seized by the government and turned into a clerk's office for the War Department.
    Part of the building collapsed (June 9, 1893), killing 22 and leading to rumors that the former theater was cursed.
    After the assassination, he and his brothers were imprisoned for 39 days before being released due to a lack of evidence linking them to the crime.
    Congress later authorized paying him $100,000 for Ford's Theatre.
    When 'H.M.S. Pinafore' became a craze in the US, he was the only American theater manager to pay Gilbert and Sullivan royalties.
    As a result, Gilbert and Sullivan entrusted him with their American business affairs.
    Ford's Theatre was restored and declared a National Historic Site (1970).

Credit: C. Fishel


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