Thursday, October 01, 2009

Richard Mansfield 1857-1907... One of the great actors of his time.

Richard Mansfield was a man of many talents. He was a very good artist as well as performer. He was a good singer and actor as well. He was also quite a prima donna when it came to dealing with his managers. It is interesting that Daniel Frohman was to have produced one of his performances and wrote many years later that he (Mansfield) came with so many conditions that he just dropped him.
He was famous for many performances. He was well known in this play "Peer Gynt". In fact this playbill was from one of his later performances in October of 1906. he was performing till early 1907.

In fact his stellar performances in the play "The strange case of Dr. Jekyll and Hyde" in 1888 caused him some serious trouble. He was performing the play in England and of course in the play he went from being the mild mannered Jekyll, to the mad, wild, and beastly Hyde.

It was at this time in London that "Jack the Ripper" was doing his various murders. It was suggested that Mansfield may very well be the "ripper" as anyone who could be such a beast on stage must be somewhat of a madman anyway!

Mansfield became the first suspect in that infamous case. Yes he was a great actor, but not a murderer. But it was a testament to his great acting that he was even thought of at all as the killer. There was a lot of speculation on him none the less and he had to do some other roles to gain a better favor with the public.
This biography of Mansfield was done by Paul Wilstach in 1908. It covers much of Mansfield's life. But a little over dramatically though!
These are some press clippings from the time of his death in 1907