Vezin, Jane Elizabeth (1827–1902)

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Vezin, Jane Elizabeth (1827–1902)

British actress. Name variations: Mrs. Charles Young. Born Jane Elizabeth Thompson in 1827; died in 1902; married Charles Frederick Young (a comedian), in 1846 (divorced 1862); married Hermann Vezin (an actor), in 1863.

An important Shakespearean actress and woman of the stage through the third quarter of the 19th century, Jane Elizabeth Vezin was born in 1827. By age eight, she had appeared on stage as a singer and dancer. She married young, in 1846, to a comedian named Charles Frederick Young. In 1855, she toured Australia with a theatrical company; she had already visited that growing British colony with her parents when she was a child.

Her London stage debut came in 1857, and over the next several years she took several leading roles in Shakespeare's plays; an 1860 appearance opposite the rising American-born actor Hermann Vezin (at the Sadler's Wells theater) resulted in her divorce from Young in 1862 and marriage to Vezin the following year. She played Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello in 1864, and continued to earn marquee roles for most of the next two decades; in 1880 and 1881, she appeared opposite the stage idol Edwin Booth. Jane Vezin died in 1902.

James M. Manheim , freelance writer, Ann Arbor, Michigan