Edwin Forrest as Spartacus, circa 1855.
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Edwin Forrest

Credit: Courtesy of the Ekstrom Library,University of Louisville, Kentucky.

For decades, Forrest thrilled American audiences performing tragic heroes such as Othello and King Lear, and famous men who had struggled against oppression. In 1831, Forrest first starred as Spartacus in The Gladiator, a play by Philadelphia physician Robert Montgomery Bird (1806-54), one of the nation's first celebrated playwrights.

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