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American actor Richard Bennett (May 21 1870 – October 22 1944) is pictured here in his role as Captain Rivers in the 1899 production of His Excellency the Governor at the Lyceum Theater in New York City.


Born in Deer Creek Township, Cass County, Indiana, Bennett made his stage debut in 1891 in Chicago. His stage career include leading part in at least 42 stage productions and was able to make the transition to silent film as early as 1914 in Damaged Goods. He also made the transition to sound production - now most often in supporting character roles - with his last screen appearance in the 1943 production of Journey Into Fear opposite Joseph Cotton and Dolores del Rio.

Married three times Bennett was father (with second wife Adrienne Morrison) of  actresses Barbara, Constance and Joan Bennett. Curiously he was the grandfather of shock television talk show host Morton Downey, Jr.

As seems to be typical in regard to early plays like His Excellency the Governor very little has turned up about the script or Bennett's character Captain Rivers. Written by Robert Marshall and produced by Charles Frohman, the play premiered at the Lyceum Theater on 9 May 1899. It was described as a "farcical romance in three acts" set in the Andaman Islands where a rare aloe that blooms but once every hundred years and "...everyone within reach of its influence falls violently in love."

Cabinet Photograph
Sarony Studios - Photographer
256 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York, United States
c. 1899

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