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Junius Brutus Booth
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    In England, his fans and those of Edmund Kean would sometimes clash with other in riot when the two actors appeared on the stage together.
    He abandoned his wife and son and ran off to America with a flower girl, who he bigamously married (1821).
    He was an alcoholic whose behavior became increasingly erratic, ranging from forgetting lines to failing to show up for performances.
    Theater owners eventually resorted to locking him into his hotel room and posting a guard.
    He was named after one assassin, fathered another assassin, and once wrote a letter to President Andrew Jackson demanding that he pardon two pirates and threatening to kill him if he did not (1835).
    Since he was friends with Jackson, most historians figure the assassination threat was merely a joke in poor taste.
    He outlived several of his children, including three who died in a cholera epidemic (1833).
    ’A History of World Theater’ declared him and his son Edwin to be among the eight greatest actors of the 19th century.

Credit: C. Fishel

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