Death of David Belasco America’s Leading Actor

Mr. David Belasco, the famous actor, dramatist, and theatrical producer, died here to-day at the age of 72. He had been ill for a long time and a few months ago he was reported on the point of death.

David Belasco was born in San Francisco on July 25th., 1859. He started his stage career as a child, and he was the outstanding figure in the American theatre. He wrote or collaborated in nearly 200plays. The famous operas “Madame Butterfly” and “The Girl of the Golden West” were adapted by Puccini from plays written by Belasco.

He was a member of the Jewish Theatrical Guild and of the Central Synagogue in New York.

The death took place in the presence of his daughter, who is the wife of the famous producer, Morris Gest.

David Belasco was held in reverence as the Dean of the American stage and as one of the ornaments of the profession all over the world. On his birthday last year he received tributes from Max Reinhardt, Constantin Stanislavsky, of the Moscow Art Theatre, Daniel Frohman, Florenz Ziegfeld, and other famous men of the theatre.

When his son-in-law, Mr. Morris Gest, roused a storm of protest against his action as a Jew in producing the Freiburg Passion Play, criticism was directed also against Belasco in the belief that he was associated with the enterprise. He issued a statement at the time disclaiming all responsibility for the presentation of the Passion Play. My only connection with the Passion Play, he wrote, was to attend the three final rehearsals. I am no more entitled to praise for the merits it possesses than I am to censure for its production.

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