Fiske, Harrison Grey


Fiske, Harrison Grey
(1861-1942)
   Born in New York to a wealthy family, Harrison Grey Fiske worked in his teens as a drama critic for the Jersey City Argus, but quit to attend New York University. In 1880, his father bought the New York Dramatic Mirror and made him its editor. Fiske's editorials promoted improvements in the quality of American theatre, helped establish the Actors' Fund of America (AFA), and launched a fierce campaign against the dominance of the Theatrical Syndicate. In 1890, Fiske married Minnie Maddern, a young actress subsequently billed as Mrs. Fiske, but her promising career was endangered by Fiske's assault on the Syndicate. He leased small theatres and tents to help her continue her work, which, in part, was important in establishing new trends in drama that included the acceptance of realism and the social problem dramas of Henrik Ibsen. Fiske leased the Manhattan Theatre for his wife in 1901 and established the Manhattan Theatre Company. He wrote several successful plays, including Hester Crewe (1893), The District Attorney (1895), Marie Deloche (1896), and The Privateer (1897). Fiske ceased editing the Dramatic Mirror in 1911 and worked exclusively as a producer, scoring his greatest commercial success with Kismet (1911), starring Otis Skinner.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .