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Maurice Evans

Maurice Evans

Along with actor-managers Walter Hampden and E.H. Sothern, Evans also holds the record for having starred on Broadway in more Shakespeare plays than any other actor.

Although John Barrymore is still considered the greatest American Shakespearean actor of the 20th century, the British-born Evans was the United States' pre-eminent exponent of Shakespeare from 1936 until 1946, during which he appeared in no less than four successive Broadway productions of "Hamlet", as well as a few of the Bard's other plays.

At age 88, he lived the longest of the regular or recurring "Bewitched" (1964) cast members.

Awarded a special Tony in 1950 for his body of stage work.

During World War II, he commanded the Special Entertainment Unit which included fellow actors Werner Klemperer and Carl Reiner.



During World War II, he presented a pare-down 90-minute "Hamlet" that became known as the "G.I. Hamlet" as many service members took in the play. Ironically, his first "Hamlet" on Broadway was the first time the play had been presented uncut on the Great White Way.

Evans appeared in more Broadway productions of Shakespeare's "Richard II" than any other actor. His record remains unbroken as of 2004. His first 1937 production of "Richard II" (there were two that year) is the longest-running production of the tragedy ever to play on Broadway.

First name properly pronounced "Morris" (the traditional English pronunciation of "Maurice"). In "Bewitched" (1964), in which his character shares his Christian name (but is pronounced in the American manner), Agnes Moorehead on at least one occasion slips and pronounces his name "Morris".

He played more leading roles in "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (1951) television productions of Shakespeare than any other actor, starring in versions of "Hamlet", "Macbeth", "Twelfth Night", "Richard II", "The Taming of the Shrew" and "The Tempest".

He probably made more appearances on the "Hallmark Hall of Fame" (a total of eleven) than any other actor, and his record most likely remains unbroken to this day.

His 1945 production of "Hamlet" was the longest-running Broadway production of the play, until surpassed by Richard Burton's 1964 revival.

Portrayed Hamlet in five consecutive revivals of the play on Broadway, between 1939 and 1947. Counting up all of his performances, he may well have played the role on Broadway more times than any other actor in history.

Started out as a boy singer, singing with the St. Andrews's choir in London.

While Evans was extremely well-known as a Shakespearean actor during the years that he was most active, his fame in this area was eventually eclipsed by that of Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, who won even more acclaim for their performances than Evans did.

Won two Tony Awards: in 1950, a Special Award "for the work he did in guiding the City Center Theatre Company through a highly successful season, " and in 1954, as co-producer (with George Schaefer) of the Best Play winner, "The Teahouse of the August Moon." He was also twice nominated for Tony Awards: in 1957 as Best Actor (Dramatic) for "The Apple Cart" and in 1961 as Best Actor (Musical) for "Tenderloin."


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