Steele MacKaye

James Morrison Steele MacKaye ( /məˈkaɪ/ mə-KY; June 6, 1842 – February 25, 1894) was an American playwright, actor, theater manager and inventor. Having acted, written, directed and produced numerous and popular plays and theatrical spectaculars of the day, he became one of the most famous actors and theater producers of his generation. Steele MacKaye was born in Buffalo, New York. His father, Colonel James M. MacKaye, was a successful attorney and an ardent abolitionist; Steele's mother died when he was young. He had three sisters—Sarah MacKaye Alling (1809–1904), Emily MacKaye von Hesse (1838–?), Sarah MacKaye Warner (1840–1876)—and two half-brothers—William Henry MacKaye (1834–1888) and Henry Goodwin MacKaye (1856–1913). While young, Steele attended Roe's Military Academy in Cornwall-on-Hudson and the William Leverett Boarding School in Newport. Under the influence from his father, who was also an art connoisseur, MacKaye initially planned to become an artist. During his teens he studied painting with William Morris Hunt, then continued his studies at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. He returned to the U.S. in order to serve for the Union Army during the American Civil War.


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