Phil Branson (1887)

[Born c. 1859, died Ridgefield Park, New Jersey 21 Jul 1932]

Philip F. Branson's first appearance on the New York Stage was as Lieutenant Geoffrey Plantagenet Hamilton De Bracy in L'Afrique, an opera by W. C. McCreery, at the Bijou Opera House in January 1882. In November 1886 he returned to New York, appearing at the Fifth Avenue Theatre as Cyril in a D'Oyly Carte-sanctioned revival of Princess Ida. The cast for this production included such D'Oyly Carte stalwarts as Courtice Pounds, Geraldine Ulmar, and Signor Brocolini.

In January 1887 he was on a John Stetson tour of New England as the Duke of Dunstable in Patience. He was in the cast of Princess Ida when it performed on tour in February and March 1887. This was, at least for a portion of the tour, billed as a D'Oyly Carte production. He was Cyril in early February, but may have switched to Hilarion later on. (Courtice Pounds, who had played Hilarion to Branson's Cyril at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, was by then back at the Fifth Avenue as Richard Dauntless with Carte's First American Ruddygore Company.)

A week or so later, Branson appeared as Richard Dauntless on tour in New England with Carte's Second American Ruddygore Company in March and April 1887.

Branson's comic opera career continued. During the next few years he toured with E. E. Rice and Henry Dixey, and he eventually migrated to San Francisco where he was a member of the Tivoli Opera Company.

He retired from the stage in 1924 with his wife, whose stage name was Mathilda Salinger, and went into the insurance business. Mrs. Branson died in 1930, and on July 21, 1932, Phil Branson was killed when he stepped in front of a train in Ridgefield Park, New Jersey. He was 73.

Page created August 27, 2001 © 2001 David Stone