Louis James

1842 - 03/4/1910

Louis James was born in Tremont, Illionis in 1842. A classical actor, James' career began with an engagement with Mr. Auley's stock company of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1864. In 1871 James married his first wife, Lillian Scanlan in Philadelphia, though she would die five years later. From 1886 to 1889 James starred as the leading man in Lawrence Barrett's company, and married the leading woman of that company, Marie Wainright. The two eventually divorced and James signed with Joseph Jefferson's company from 1891 to 1892, before joining Frederick Warde's company as a co-headliner. Later in life, James starred in the Wagenhals and Kemper company, and married for a third time to Aphie Hendricks, an actress who co-starred in many of James' final performances.


It is likely that James would have continued to build on his forty-seven year career as an actor if his life had not ended suddenly. James died of heart failure in Seattle, Washington in March of 1910, the night before a performance of "Henry VIII". The touring schedule may have taken a toll, for a month earlier, James had performed "Henry VII" and "Ther Merchant of Venice" at the Moore Theatre, and had mentioned in an interview during that time that he wished to limit the length of future tours, perhaps performing solely on the East Coast (Seattle Daily Times, March 5 1910).


After James' death, the Seattle performances were cancelled and his company disbanded. James' wife Aphie returned to Kansas to live, according to the Seattle Daily Times, on the "considerable fortune" amassed by the actor during his lengthy career. The Times concluded James' obituary by remarking that the actor had been "a splendid actor of the old school" (Seattle Daily Times, March 5 1910).

Cultural Identity: 
Notable Roles: 
Headlining in "Henry VIII"
Headlining in "Ther Merchant of Venice"
Headlining in "The Jealous Wife"
"Heart Failure Causes Louis James to Pass Behind Scenes Forever" Seattle Daily Times, March 5, 1910, p.8