John Augustin Daly (
July 20, 1838- June 7, 1899), American theatrical manager and playwright, was born in Plymouth, North Carolina, and educated at Norfolk, Va., and in the public schools of New York City.
He was dramatic critic for several
New Yorkpapers from 1859, and he adapted or wrote a number of plays, "Under the Gaslight" (1867) being his first success. In 1869 he was the manager of the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and in 1879 he built and opened Daly's Theatre in New York, and, in 1893, Daly's Theatrein London.
At the former he gathered a company of players, headed by
Ada Rehan, which made for it a high reputation, and for them he adapted plays from foreign sources, and revived Shakespearean comedies in a manner before unknown in America. He took his entire company on tour, visiting England, Germanyand France, and some of the best actors on the American stage have owed their training and first successes to him. Among these were Clara Morris, Sara Jewett, John Drew, Jr., Maurice Barrymore, Fanny Davenport, Maude Adams, Mrs. Gilbert, Tyrone Power, Sr., Ada Dyas, Isadora Duncanand many others. Daly's willingness to, as he put it, "stoop to the curb and bestow upon the low, untried actor a chance at greatness" earned him the nickname "Little Man Auggie" among his peers. His play "Leah the Forsaken", adapted from the "Deborah" of Hermann Salomon Mosenthal, was a star vehicle for Margaret Mather.
Daly was a great book-lover, and his valuable library was dispersed by auction after his death, which occurred in
Paris. Besides plays, original and adapted, he wrote "Woffington: a Tribute to the Actress and the Woman" (1888).
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