Sothern, Edward Askew

BORN 1 Apr 1826, Liverpool, Merseyside - DIED 21 Jan 1881, London: Vere Street, Cavendish Square
GRAVE LOCATION Southampton, Hampshire: Old Cemetery, Hill Lane (A 004 063)

Edward Sothern was born in Liverpool as th son of a merchant. He started acting as an amateur and worked as a clerk but in 1849 he became a professional at St. Helies, Jersey. He had married Fanny Stewart and they had four children. He acted under the name of Douglas Stewart.

He performed at Portsmouth, Wolverhampton and Birmingham before he went to the USA in 1852. Intially his wife often performed with him but they were little successful. In 1857 he joined Laura Keene's company in New York. By this time he used his own name. In 1858 he appeared in Tom Taylor's "Our American Cousin". The play wasn't very special and at first he only had a small part, but he played the typical Englishman Lord Dundreary so well that the play was an unexpected success. It ran for 150 nights, saving the season for Laura Keene.

By the time the play was produced at the Haymarket in London Lord Dundreary had become the central figure and it was performed 496 times in London. He played Lord Dundreary over and over again and it was also staged in the USA by its owner Laura Keene without him. In 1865 Lincoln was watching "Our American Cousin" with Laura Keene onstage when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth. In 1872 Sothern acquired the copyrights for the USA and Canada from Laura Keene including the original manuscript for $2,690.

Although his name is linked to Lord Dundreary forever he was also convincing in "David Garrack" (1864) by T.W. Robertson. In private he was very fond of practical jokes and he was often visited by well known people at his house in Kensington.

He died in 1881 after a severe illness in London and according to his own wishes he was buried in Southampton. His sister is buried there as well. His wife died in 1882. His four children all became actors.

Related persons
• cooperated with Keene, Laura


The grave of Edward Sothern at the Old Cemetery, Southampton.
Picture by Androom (17 Jun 2010)


• Henneke, Ben Graf, Laura Keene, Actress, Innovator and Impresario, Council Oak Books, Tulsa, Oklahoma, 1990
Edward Askew Sothern - Wikipedia

Soto, Jesus-Rafael

Published: 04 Jul 2010
Last update: 02 Mar 2022