Drew, John, 1827–62, American actor, b. Dublin. After establishing a reputation as a comedian in the 1840s, he devoted his energies to the Arch Street Theatre, Philadelphia, where he maintained a famous stock company, with his wife as co-star. His wife, Louisa Lane Drew, 1820–97, b. London, came to the United States as a child and, until her marriage in 1850, acted with such stars as J. B. Booth and Edwin Forrest. On her husband's death she assumed management of the Arch Street Theatre until 1892, establishing her reputation as a character actress. She was constantly seen on tour (1880–92) as Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals, which was her best role. Her three children, John and Sidney Drew and Georgiana Drew (who married Maurice Barrymore), had their early training under their mother. Her eldest son, John Drew, 1853–1927, b. Philadelphia, began his career in her company. In 1875 he joined the company of Augustin Daly in New York and played with acclaim in Daly's remarkable Shakespearean productions. In 1892 he left Daly and, as one of the first Charles Frohman stars, played in modern comedies with Maude Adams.
See L. L. Drew's Autobiographical Sketch ; the younger John Drew's autobiography, My Years on the Stage (1922); biographies by E. A. Dithmar (1900) and P. Wood (1928); M. J. Moses, Famous Actor-Families in America (1906).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.