David Warfield

David Warfield (November 28, 1866 June 27, 1951) was an American stage actor.

David Warfield
David Wohlfeld

November 28, 1866
DiedJune 27, 1951 (age 84)
Years activeca. 1888-1930
Spouse(s)Mary Gabrielle Bradt (married 1899)

Life and career

Warfield was born David Wohlfeld in San Francisco, California, to German Jewish parents, Louise and Sigmund Wohlfeld.[1][2] His first connection with the theatre was as an usher. He made his first stage appearance in 1888 in The Ticket-of-Leave Man. Two years later he went to New York City, where he appeared at the Casino Theatre and at Weber and Field's Music Hall. In 1901, he was discovered and promoted by David Belasco who starred him in The Auctioneer, in which he played 1,400 times, including a revival that extended over several seasons. He remained under the Belasco management.

One of his best-known roles was that of Anton von Barwig in The Music Master, which he played from 1904 to 1907, appearing in the part more than 1000 times. He created the title role in The Return of Peter Grimm in 1911. Warfield's position as a leading American actor in comedy was established by the masterly style in which he portrayed, in each of these plays, a kindly old gentleman who is pathetic in misfortune and amusingly eccentric. In 1916 he appeared in Van der Decken, a play by Belasco, based on the legend of The Flying Dutchman.

The World Famous Warfield Theatre in San Francisco, California (Warfield's birthplace) is named in his honour.

Warfield, who at the time was one of the world's richest entertainers, died in New York City, at 84.[3]


  1. "The Stage".
  2. Fisher, James (2011-10-14). To Have or Have Not: Essays on Commerce and Capital in Modernist Theatre. ISBN 9780786486830.
  3. "Milestones". Time magazine. 9 Jul 1951. Retrieved 2007-05-21.
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