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Marcell Dill


A West Indian actor developed by Walter Hampden in his star vehicles and Shakespeare plays of the early 1920s--"Romeo & Juliet," "Othello," "Hamlet," "Ghosts," "The Immortal Thief," "Caponsacchi," and "Cyrano de Bergerac"--Marcell Dill became the supporting actor to stars who plied masterpieces of the repertory. One of the best spoken actors found touring the circuits of his era, Dill combined versatility in playing character types with a precisely articulated diction. He lacked, however, the charisma to play lead and could not make passionately emotional scenes convincing. Ethel Barrymore secured his services regularly during the 1930s and '40s for her vehicles and he performed laudably in "Scarlet Sister Mary," "The Kingdom of God," "School for Scandal," and "The Corn Is Green." John Barrymore engaged him for the 1935 summer Shakespeare performances at the Pasedena playhouse. Dill appeared in both "Richard III" and "Henry VIII." His dependability and technique resulted in a long career. In the 1950s, stationed in Boston, he appeared in Roger MacDougall's London hit, "To Dorothy a Son." The 1950s saw his retirement from the stage after a thirty year career as an expert second-stringer. David S. Shields