English actor, playwright, and theatrical manager; born in Paris 1852; died at Folkestone, England, June 22, 1896. Harris made possible the renascence in London of grand opera, which had lapsed for want of support. Educated in Paris and Hanover, he forsook a mercantile life to appear (Dec., 1873) at the Theater Royal, Manchester, as Malcolm in "Macbeth." Subsequently he supported Barry Sullivan, and then became stage-manager for Colonel Mapleson at Covent Garden.

Egyptian Harpers.(From a wall-painting in the tomb of Rameses III.)

In 1879 he became manager of Drury Lane Theater—previously a graveyard for theatrical fortunes—where his shrewd management and improved methods of staging laid the foundation of his success. Plays written by Harris, some in collaboration with Petit and Hamilton, were: "The World" (his first production), "Youth," "Human Nature," "A Run of Luck," "The Spanish Armada," "A Million of Money," "The Prodigal Daughter," "A Life of Pleasure," and "The Derby Winner." The last-named was produced in the United States under the title "The Sporting Duchess."

Harris gave his first season of grand opera at Drury Lane in 1887, and so successful was it that he engaged Covent Garden Theater for the following year. The greatest musical artists in the world came under his management. A feature of Harris' Drury Lane management was the elaborate scale on which he produced the Christmas pantomime each year.

Despite his arduous and incessant labors, Harrisfound time to devote to politics, and became a member of the London County Council, representing the Strand division. He was appointed sheriff in 1891 and deputy lieutenant of the city of London. It was at this time that Harris was knighted.

In 1894 Harris went to the United States, where he and Augustin Daly produced "Hänsel und Graetel." On his return to London the strain of work broke down his health, and he died shortly afterward.

  • New York Tribune, June 23 and July 13, 1896;
  • New York Herald, June 23, 1896.
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