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Barnabee, Henry Clay (14 November 1833–16 December 1917), singer and actor, was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the son of Willis Barnabee and Mary (maiden name unknown). His father was a stagecoach driver who became an innkeeper. Willis Barnabee’s wife was cook, and his adolescent son Henry was odd-jobs man and at times bartender....

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De Angelis, Thomas Jefferson (30 November 1859–20 March 1933), actor and musical performer, was born in San Francisco, California, the son of John “Johnny” De Angelis and Susan Loudenschlager, stage performers. He was thus born to a theatrical heritage. His uncle, Thomas Rosa, taught him dancing and gymnastics, and his father gave him voice lessons. De Angelis also attended a few classes in public schools in both Philadelphia and New York, but his formal schooling was sparse....

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Eddy, Nelson (29 June 1901–06 March 1967), film actor and concert baritone, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of William Darius Eddy, an electrical engineer and inventor, and Isabel Kendrick. Eddy was from a musical family: both of his parents were noted local singers; his grandmother, Caroline Ackerman Kendrick, had been a famous oratorio singer; and his grandfather, Isaac N. Eddy, had been the bass drummer with Reeves’s American Band. In 1915 his parents separated, and his mother moved to Philadelphia. Nelson left school to take a job with her brother at the Mott Iron Works there, and he never returned to finish his formal education. His father stayed in Providence and later remarried. Virginia, a half-sister, was born in 1925. Later, her two sons became favorites of Eddy’s, who had no children of his own....

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De Wolf Hopper Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-90305).

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Hopper, DeWolf (30 March 1858–23 September 1935), actor and singer, was born William D’Wolf Hopper in New York City, the son of John Hopper, a lawyer, and Rosalie D’Wolf. The family lived on East Third Street right off the Bowery and later moved to West Forty-third Street. His paternal grandfather, John Tatum Hopper, was a Quaker and a conductor of the Underground Railroad in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, who was disciplined by the Quaker Meeting for his participation in the Civil War. Hopper was six when his father died, leaving him and his mother comfortably well off. He studied at J. H. Morse’s School. Early on he showed a propensity for the theatrical. As a school boy he mastered the “Senator Dilworthy” monologue, and when he was fifteen he played in a Sunday school production of ...

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Lanza, Mario (31 January 1921–07 October 1959), operatic tenor and film star, was born Alfredo Arnold Cocozza in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Antonio Cocozza, a decorated U.S. Army veteran disabled in World War I, and Maria Lanza, a seamstress. An only child of Italian immigrants, Lanza was raised in a working-class South Philadelphia neighborhood and educated in the Philadelphia public schools, from which he was expelled shortly before graduation, allegedly for assaulting a teacher who insulted his ethnicity....