Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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McCULLOUGH, John Edward, actor, born in Coleraine, Ireland, 2 November, 1837 ; died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 8 November, i885. His parents, who were small farmers, brought him to this country in 1853 and settled in Philadelphia, where the lad was apprenticed to learn the trade of a chair-maker. In 1855 MeCullough made his first appearance in a minor character in " The Belle's Stratagem," at the Arch street theatre in Philadelphia, and soon afterward chose the stage as a regular profession. For several years he acted in small parts in Boston, Philadelphia, and other cities. From 1866 until 1868 McCullough travelled with Edwin Forrest, filling the second parts in the latter's plays. In 1869, and for some years afterward, in connection with Lawrence Barrett, he managed the Bush street theatre in San Francisco, where his forcible, robust style of acting had many admirers. In 1872, when Forrest died, that actor left his manuscript plays in McCullough's possession, looking upon him as his legitimate successor. From 1873 until 1883 the tragedian played, with more or less success, throughout the United States, in the heroic rSles of John Howard Payne's " Brutus," " Jack Cade," " The Gladiator," " Virginius," and "Damon and Pythias," with occasional performances of " Othello," " Coriolanus," and " King Lear." In 1884 he became prostrated, both mentally and physically, but rallied for a time and filled an engagement in Milwaukee. Thence he went to Chicago, where his managers induced him to play in" The Gladiator," but he broke down, and was led from the stage in the midst of his performance. He ended his days in a lunatic asylum. In 1881 McCullough appeared in London in a round of his favorite parts, but made no marked impression on English audiences. His shortcomings were a lack of originality and deficiency in literary culture, he was inferior to his model, Forrest, in natural endowments, and when he appeared in the parts that distinguished his master he displayed all his defects, and too closely rendered the faulty readings that were based on the judgment of his predecessor. Unlike him, however, he enriched the stage with no new dramas, and created no original characters.
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