RIGNOLD, George (1839-1912)


RIGNOLD, George (1839-1912)
actor
was born at Leicester, England, in 1839. His father, William Rignold, was an actor and small theatrical manager, whose wife, Patience Blaxland, was a leading stock actress at Birmingham. Their son, George, was taught the violin, but brought notice on himself by his playing of a small part, the messenger in Macbeth. He joined the Bath and Bristol circuit and came into touch with the Terrys, Robertsons, Madge Milton, Henrietta Hodson and Charles Coghlan, all of whom were to make their mark in London. The experience was invaluable, Rignold quickly rose in his profession, and on going to London played William in Black-Eyed Susan, Caliban in >The Tempest, and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet to the Juliet of Adelaide Neilson when she made her debut. In 1875 he opened at Booth's Theatre, New York, in Henry V and made an immediate success. This was followed by a tour in the leading cities of U.S.A. which made a great sensation; a reference in the Atlantic Monthly in 1938 shows that the memory of him still lingered 60 years later. From America Rignold went to Australia and again met with great success. In Australia a syndicate was formed to give him backing for a season at Drury Lane, London. He appeared there successfully in November 1879 in Henry V and subsequently played it in the provinces. Further tours in U.S.A. followed, and he then went to Australia and settled there. Her Majesty's Theatre at Sydney was built for him in 1886, and opening with Henry V he made this theatre his headquarters for nine years. Among his leading parts were Mark Antony in Julius Caesar, Caliban in The Tempest, Falstaff, Bottom, Romeo and Macbeth. He had also an extensive repertory in melodrama playing the hero in Youth, In the Ranks, and The Lights o' London among others. His Paolo Macari in Called Back was an interesting example of his versatility. In his last production Othello at the Criterion Theatre, Sydney, in 1899, he was considered by many to have surpassed himself both as actor and manager. He retired in 1900 and lived at Sydney where his home became a meeting place for visiting artists. In 1902, on hearing of the blindness of his brother, William, he went to London and took part in his brother's benefit. In 1907 he came from his retirement to successfully play Jason in Bland Holt's production of The Bondman. His last appearance was at a benefit performance for G. S. Titheradge (q.v.) in December 1910. He died at Sydney after an operation on 16 December 1912. He married (1) Marie B. Henderson, an actress and (2) somewhat late in life, Miss Coppin, daughter of Geo. S. Coppin (q.v.) who died in 1911. There were no children by either marriage.
Rignold was moderately tall with handsome features and great dignity of bearing. His bluff imperious yet kindly manner endeared him to his friends. He had a fine voice and was the ideal hero of melodrama, not shy of the limelight and well aware that he was generally known as "Handsome George". He was a great Henry V. Only people who had actually seen him in this part could realize how far below him were other exponents of it. His Caliban was another admirable study. He was an excellent producer, knowing what he wanted and determined to get it. His production of The Tempest was especially memorable.
The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1912; Who's Who in the Theatre, 1912; personal knowledge.

Dictionary of Australian Biography by PERCIVAL SERLE. . 1949.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • George Rignold — George Richard Rignold, born George Richard Rignall, (1839 – 16 December 1912) was an English born actor, active in Australia.Early lifeRignold was born in Leicester. He was the son of William Rignall, an actor and theatre manager, and his wife… …   Wikipedia

  • 1912 in Australia — Infobox Australian year year = 1912 monarch = George V governor general = Thomas Denman, 3rd Baron Denman pm = Andrew Fisher population = 4653721 australian = elections =South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia See also: 1911 in Australia,… …   Wikipedia

  • Rignold — /ˈrɪgnoʊld/ (say rignohld) noun George Richard, 1839–1912, Australian actor and producer, born in England; performed in Shakespearean productions in London and New York …   Australian English dictionary


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