Robert Bolder

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Robert Bolder (1859–1937) was an English stage and film actor

Also found as Bob Bolder in some sources.


Born Robert Joseph Edney in London on 20 July 1859, he began his career in London, becoming particularly well known for his comic performances.

Bolder was spent some time in South Africa between 1882 and 1888, but in the early part of the 20th-century Bolder seems to have moved to the USA and become involved in several Broadway productions, before going to California and making a career in silent film. He ultimately appeared in 99 films between 1912 and 1936, and died in Los Angeles on 10 December 1937.

His daughter, Sylvia Edney, also became an actress and visited South Africa as a six-year old in 1906 with a Comedy Company brought together by the Wheeler Company.

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

Bolder arrived in Cape Town from England on 24 August, 1882 with The Mabel Hayes Company, and performed there for them in a long season at the Theatre Royal in Burg Street, Cape Town, for a season lasting till July 1883, before the core company left Cape Town for Port Elizabeth.

Bolder appears to have remained in the South Africa for a while, or otherwise to have returned to the country from time to time. For example his name appears as "Henry Corkett" in Sutton Vane's production of The Silver King (Jones and Herman) at the Theatre Royal, Cape Town, in 1885, and in 1886 he played "Pish-Tush" in the Wheeler Company's production of The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) in the Theatre Royal, Cape Town.

He later rejoined Mabel Hayes, becoming a leading member of the company, for Binge (1969: p. 33) mentions performances by The Bob Bolder-Mabel Hayes Company in Johannesburg and Pretoria during August of 1888, drawing some attention with an Aladdin in which they satirized local issues such as "Oom Paul" Kruger's chances in the election, speculation, gold shares, and the like. (Rather oddly Binge misspells Bolder's name as "Holder" in the text of his history, though he has it correct in his Index - but then proceeds to get the page reference wrong in the Index...)


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 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1916. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp. 375, 379, 382, 426.

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