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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BLAKE, William Rufus, actor, born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1805 ; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 22 April 1863. He was of Irish parentage. When only seventeen years old he went on the stage at Halifax, Nova Scotia, taking the part of the Prince of Wales, in "Richard the Third," with a company of strolling players. His first appearance in New York was in 1824, at the old Chatham theatre, as Frederick, in "The Poor Gentleman," and in "The Three Singles." While playing at the Tremont theatre, Boston, in 1827, he received the first call before the curtain ever given to an actor in this country. In 1839 he visited England, making his first appearance there in the Haymarket theatre, London. On 21 April 1863, while playing Sir Peter Teazle, in the Boston theatre, he was suddenly taken ill, and died the next day. Mr. Blake was a man of good education, and a fluent speaker. He excelled in the delineation of old men. One of his best characters was that of Jesse Rural in "Old Heads and Young Hearts." He was, at different times, stage manager of the Tremont theatre, Boston, joint manager of the Walnut street theatre, Philadelphia, and stage manager of the Broadway theatre, New York. He was the author of the plays "Nero" ; "The Turned Head" ; an adaptation of Theodore S. Fay's novel "Norman Leslie ": and "The Buggs," a burlesque.*His wife, Caroline Placide, widow of Leigh Waring. was an actress.
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