Joe

Jefferson

 

Joe Jefferson [seated in front], Palm Beach, Florida, circa 1904.
Jefferson died in Palm Beach in 1905.

Comic actor Joseph Jefferson, one of the most well-known American stage personalities of the nineteenth century, was born into a family of actors in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on February 20, 1829. He made his stage debut at the tender age of three in a production of German playwright August von Kotzubue's Pizarro.

Jefferson achieved his first great success in 1858 in Tom Taylor's Our American Cousin. He is best remembered for his portrayal in the 1860s of Rip Van Winkle, an Americanized version of a German folk tale popularized by Washington Irving in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent (1819-1820).

He had a summer house in Marion and was part of the fishing buddies set that included Grover Cleveland and Richard Watson Gilder.