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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KIRBY, J. Hudson, actor, born on shipboard near Sandy Hook, New Jersey, 3 April, 1819; died in London, England, in 1848. He first appeared in subordinate parts in 1837, at the Chestnut street theatre in Philadelphia. Later he was seen at the Richmond Hill theatre in New York as Young Norval in Home's tragedy of "Douglas," and other leading juvenile characters. For a brief time thereafter he managed the Franklin theatre in New York city. In 1842 he played in Albany and other places as Claude Melnotte in "The Lady of Lyons," and King Lear and other Shakespearian parts. During several years Kirby was engaged as leading performer at the Chatham street National theatre. Here he met with remarkable popularity in the dramas "Six Degrees of Crime," " The Surgeon of Paris," "The Carpenter of Rouen," and others, that ran nightly for several seasons. In 1845 Kirby went to England, where he performed in tragic and dramatic parts in London at the Olympic, Surry, and other theatres, extending his professional visits to the other large cities of Great Britain. As an actor he was favored with great natural endowments, and in the representation of some romantic characters was unequalled. But the subtleties of the higher drama were beyond his grasp, and he appeared in them without making any lasting impressions.
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