- Bruce A. McConachie
Forrest, Edwin (09 March 1806–12 December 1872), first American-born star of the U.S. stage, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of William Forrest, a Scottish-American bank messenger, and Rebecca Lauman. His father recognized Edwin’s interest in oratory and provided him with elocution lessons. Edwin left school and took a series of odd jobs after his father’s death in 1819. During his teen years, Edwin practiced acrobatic feats to train his weak body (a regimen he enhanced and continued throughout his life) and performed with an amateur thespian society. He made his stage debut as Young Norval, a conventional vehicle for aspiring juveniles, in 1820 at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre. Accorded generous notices in the press, Forrest played a few minor roles for managers William Warren and ...