English comedian; born at Birmingham 1839; died in London Oct. 3, 1893. Under the auspices of Charles Kean, James made his début, when a child, in the ballet at the Princess' Theatre, London. Next he appeared in various burlesques, his best creation being Mercury in F. C. Burnand's "Ixion," produced at the Royalty.

In 1870 James joined H. J. Montague and Thomas Thorne in the management of the Vaudeville Theatre.

His greatest success was as Perkyn Middlewick in Byron's "Our Boys," a part which he made famous and which he played more than thirteen hundred consecutive times—the record run for an English play—Jan. 16, 1875, to April 18, 1879. In 1881 he went to the Haymarket to join the Bancrofts; and thence he removed to the Lyceum, where "Two Roses" had been revived especially for him. In 1886 he joined Charles Wyndham's company, playing at the Criterion Theatre. In 1893, shortly before James's death, "Our Boys" was revived for him.

James left his large fortune to charity, mainly to Jewish institutions.

  • The Times (London), Oct. 3, 1893;
  • Jew. Chron. Oct., 1893.
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