James K. Hackett (actor)

James Keteltas Hackett (September 6, 1869 November 8, 1926) was an American actor and manager.

James K. Hackett
BornSeptember 6, 1869
DiedNovember 8, 1926
OccupationStage actor
Spouse(s)Mary Mannering,
Beatrice Mary Beckley
Parent(s)James Henry Hackett


James K. Hackett was the son of Clara C. and James Henry Hackett, a comedian and celebrated Falstaff. He was born in Ontario, Canada. His elderly father died at age 71 when Hackett was just two years old.

Hackett attended New York's Grammar School 69 and graduated with a B.A. degree from the College of the City of New York in 1891. He made his professional debut as an actor in Philadelphia in 1892, as Francois in The Broken Seal. In New York later that year, he played opposite Mrs. Potter. Later in the decade, he played Romeo to Olga Nethersole's Juliet, and Mercutio to Maude Adams's Juliet.[1]

Hackett played Captain Basil Jennico in the 1900 production of The Pride of Jennico with Bertha Galland in her New York stage debut.[2][3]

In 1913, Adolph Zukor lured Hackett from the stage to star in director Edwin Porter's film The Prisoner of Zenda (1913), for a role which Hackett had played in the theater numerous times. Since feature films were in their infancy, Hackett was at first reluctant to take the part. Zukor tried to convince Hackett in person, and as Neal Gabler writes, "When Hackett came to visit Zukor, he was the very picture of the faded matinee idol. He wore a fur-collared coat with frayed sleeves and carried a gold-headed cane".[4]

In 1897, he married the actress Mary Mannering and in 1911 Beatrice Mary Beckley. He and Mannering had a daughter, Elise (1904–1974), together.[5][6] Beckley appeared with Hackett in Hackett's debut film The Prisoner of Zenda for Zukor's Famous Players company.[7]

Recorder John K. Hackett (1821–1879) was his half-brother. In 1914, James inherited the larger part of the estate, valued at $1,389,049.46, from his niece Minnie (Hackett) Trowbridge (1850–1914), the only child of his brother John.[8][9]


  1. Eaton, Walter Prichard (1910). The American Stage of Today. New York, NY: P.F. Collier & Son.
  2. Brown, Thomas Allston (1903). A History of the New York Stage from the First Performance in 1732 ..., Vol. 3, pg. 612.
  3. The Pride of Jennico – IBDB
  4. Gabler, Neal (1988). An Empire of Their Own. New York, NY: Doubleday. p. 31.
  5. Moses, Montrose (c. 1906). Famous Actor Families.
  6. Blum, Daniel (c.1952 & 1954). Great Stars of the American Stage, Profile#8.
  7. Blum, Daniel (c. 1953). Pictorial History of the Silent Screen, page 37.
  8. "Hackett Feels Sure of $1,500,000 Legacy" in The New York Times on March 5, 1914.
  9. "More Than Million For Actor Hackett" in The New York Times on June 14, 1914.


  • Strang, Famous Actors of the Day in America, (Boston, 1900)
  • William Winter, The Wallet of Time, (two volumes, New York, 1913)
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