Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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DILLON, Charles, actor, born in England; died in Harwich, England, 21 June 1881. Both his parents were prominent actors. In his fourteenth year he was engaged at a London minor theatre as stage manager and to act juvenile characters. In this place he remained two years. His next engagement was at the Surrey theatre under Davage, where he appeared in small parts and in the ballet. After this he left the stage for a time and wrote several melodramas and magazine articles. He returned to the stage and made a tour of the provinces, going to London and appearing at the City of London theatre as Hamlet. His next engagement was with Mr. Douglas at the Marylebone theatre, where he was stage manager , leading man, and dramatist. At this period of his life he made a resolution that he would leave London and not return to it until he had "starred" in every town and City of importance in Great Britain. This resolve seems to have been kept. During his absence from London he was for a season manager of the Sheffield theatre.
He returned to London in 1856 and made his first appearance at Sadler's Wells theatre, and afterward took the Lyceum theatre, where he revived "Belphegor," in which character he had become quite famous. At first he met with great success, as the theatre was crowded nightly. After a time, being compelled to close the theatre for lack of patronage, he traveled again through the provinces. In 1860 Mr. Dillon again appeared in London at Drury Lane, the St. James, Sadler's Wells, Marylebone, and Standard theatres. In 1861 he came to the United States and opened at the Winter Garden, New York, 24 January as Belphegor, and then "starred" through the country until 1863, when he went to Australia. He returned here in 1866 and opened at Niblo's Garden, and again went on a tour of the country. He reappeared in London, England, at Sadler's Wells theatre, 17 February 1868, as King Lear. He then acted at Drury Lane theatre, when Byron's "Manfred" was revived. He reappeared at Drury Lane theatre, 28 September 1878, acting Leontes in "A Winter's Tale." After this engagement he acted only in the provinces. Mr. Dillon was an excellent actor, but was considered much better in melodrama than in tragedy.
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