Ira Aldridge was one of the best Shakespearean actors of all time. He played many of the Shakespearean roles like Macbeth, and King Lear. But his most famous role was Othello.
He was born in 1807. He's place of birth isn't known exactly, but it is a tie between New York and Maryland. He grow up in Maryland. Because of the lack of schools for African Americans in Maryland, Aldridge moved to New York. He attended the African free school and Schenectady College. It was there that he became interested in acting.
He raised money and moved to Glasgow, Scotland. Studying at the University of Glasgow, he developed voice projection and dramatic skills.
His stage debut was the role of Roller in Pizarro, for the African Company in New York. He also preformed for the president of the U.S., Queen Victoria, and other royalty. At the age of 32 he was drawing crowds to see him portray Shakespearean roles.
Aldridge gave no performance in Europe, which was not witnessed by one or more members of the royal family of the country he was in. The Black Roscius,? as he was called, created such a furor as a tragedian, that he was frequently carried from the theatres where he performed, upon the shoulders of his enthusiastic auditors to his hotel.
He received numerous awards for his outstanding performances. He received a medal of Ferdinan from Frong Joseph of Austria for his unforgettable performance as Othello. He was also the first African American to become a knight. His medals and decorations were estimated at the time of his death, to be worth over $250,00.
He was married twice, and divorced once. His second wife was a Swedish baroness, by whom he had three children.
Aldridge died in 1867, in Poland. A chair was dedicated in his memory, at the Shakespearean Memorial Theater in England.