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Margaret Anglin



For a generation of theater lovers who witnessed the transformation of the serious drama from the social problem play of the late 19th century to the modernist theater of ideas in the early 20th century, Margaret Anglin was the actress who suggested a continuity of characterization between the eras. Daughter of the Speaker of Canada's House of Commons, she grew up in an household where the tumult of politics and the discipline of manners governed the behavior of powerful people. She trained in New York at the Empire School of Dramatic Arts and upon graduation immediately attracted the support of Charles Frohman, a member of the powerful theatrical syndicate that controlled the country's stages. A serious trouper, she crisscrossed the country with various troupes (those of James O'Neill and Richard Mansfield for instance) bringing art to the provinces of North America. She performed Shakespeare and Greek tragedy, Oscar Wilde and western melodramas such as "The Great Divide." Critics reported that she performed with the least seeming awareness of the existence of an audience regarding her actions. David S. Shields/ALS