Ben Webster

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Besides the 19th century actor, manager and playwright Benjamin Nottingham Webster (1797-1882)[1], lessee of the Haymarket Theatre and the Adelphi Theatre in London, whose plays were often done in the country, there have also been other people named Benjamin Webster or Ben Webster, who have had more direct connections with theatre in South Africa.

Among them have been:

Ben Webster (18**–18**), English actor/manager

Ben Webster (1864–1947), English/American actor


Born Benjamin Webster[2] on 2 June 1864, the son of W.S. Webster and grandson of the playwright, Benjamin Webster, he had a long career on the English stage, before moving to Hollywood, where he and his wife, the actress May Whitty, made numerous films in later years. He was the father of the actress and director Margaret Webster.

While ha had a successful stage career, he was better known as a film actor, appearing in 43 films between 1913 and 1943. These included The Old Curiosity Shop (1935), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Mrs. Miniver (1942) and Lassie Come Home (1943).

Webster passed away on 26 February 1947.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

He undertook a tour of South Africa in 1928/1929 (?) with Zena Dare and her company, playing in The High Road, The Trial of Mary Dugan, The Squeaker, and Aren't We All?.


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1923. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [3]: pp.

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.

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