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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HOLLAND, George, actor, born in London, England, 6 December, 1791; died in New York city, 20 December, 1871. He began his career in London as clerk in a silk warehouse, in succession entered the office of a money-broker and a newspaper-publisher, and eventually became a commercial traveller. He began as an actor in 1817, in small parts, at Drury Lane theatre. In 1820 he played at the London Olympic theatre, and later became connected with play-houses in Birmingham, Manchester, and New-castle-on-Tyne. His first appearance in this country was at the Bowery theatre, New York, on 12 September, 1827, as Jerry in "The Day after the Fair," followed by Billy Lackaday in "Sweethearts and Wives," and Paul Pry. After engagements for several seasons in New York city, Holland made prolonged tours of the southern and western theatres, and in 1834 was settled as a performer in New Orleans, where he became treasurer of the St. Charles theatre. Returning north, he formed a connection with Mitchell's Olympic theatre, from 1843 till 1849, and within the last two years became its stage-manager. From 1849 till 1852 he lost his professional identity, by attaching himself, under an assumed name, to Wood's and Christy's negro minstrels. In 1852 he reappeared as an actor at Placide's Varieties, New Orleans, but soon returned to New York to become a member of the company at Wallack's theatre. This was his last permanent engagement. He made his final appearance on 15 May, 1870, at the Fifth avenue theatre. After his death, a fund was raised by subscription for the benefit of his widow and children, which amounted to over $15,000. Holland was an amusing performer in farce and burlesque, where he brought in play numerous eccentricities, ventriloquial diversions, and imitations of men and animals. As a comedian he never lost his identity in the characters he personated, and frequently resorted to grimace and extravagance to provoke merriment. See memorial sketch of "Life of George Holland," edited by Thomas H. Morrell (printed privately, New York, 1871).
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