James O’Neill

As we all know Eugene O’Neill was very sad about his father, James O’Neill.  Gene—and many others—felt that James was a wonderful actor and that he could have a major part in any American play he cared to be in!  Alas, James O’Neill chose to spend his theatrical life in a potboiler, The Count of Monte Cristo.  He played it all over the U.S. year after year—over 6000 performances in 40 years!

Gene was quoted as saying:

My father was really a remarkable actor, but the enormous success of “Monte Cristo” kept him from doing other things. He could go out year after year and clear fifty thousand in a season. He thought that he simply couldn’t afford to do anything else. But in his later years he was full of bitter regrets. He felt “Monte Cristo” had ruined his career as an artist.

While a bit faded, this 1897 advertising poster still adorns our living room—talk about a Throwback Thursday from way, way back!

monte cristo 4

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