Hopper, De Wolf


Hopper, De Wolf
(1858-1935)
   The popular comedian was born William DeWolf Hopper in New York City, performed amateur theatricals in his youth, and made his professional debut in 1878 in New Haven, Connecticut. After two seasons of touring, he was cast as the hero in Edward Harrigan and Tony Hart's The Blackbird (1882) on Broadway, then went back on the road with the Madison Square Theatre company's Hazel Kirke. An invitation to join McCaull's Opera Company precipitated Hopper's move to musicals, and he stayed five seasons with that company. Most of his work thereafter was in musicals, but one staple of his acting repertoire merits mention. For over four decades, beginning 13 May 1888, Hopper made a specialty of reciting Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat," often as between-the-acts entertainment. He married musical comedienne Della Fox, with whom he often costarred. His memoir Once a Clown, Always a Clown was published in 1927. He died on tour in Kansas City.

The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. .

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