De Wolf Hopper, a vocalist and actor who specialized in comic roles, made his stage debut in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1878. In 1899 he played with the great comedy team of Fields and Weber in Reginald DeKoven's musical, Fiddle-dee-dee. He also performed in operettas (Strauss's Die Fledermaus and Reginald DeKoven's Mr. Pickwick), including several by Gilbert and Sullivan. He played only one part in a Shakespeare play; for a great comedian it was fitting that in 1921 he appeared as Sir John Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor.
Between 1915 and 1935 Hopper played in ten films. His first in 1915 was as Don Quixote, the part he played on the stage. In 1916 he starred in Casey at the Bat, a poem he was famous for reciting. He is supposed to have recited it 10,000 times during his stage career.
His autobiography, Once a Clown, Always a Clown, was published in 1927. One more interesting fact: the advice to keep daughters off the stage was perhaps sound; Hopper was married six times and of course had a reputation as a bit of a bounder.
De Wolf Hopper
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