Arthur Wilkinson as Major Murgatroyd in Patience

Arthur Wilkinson (1879-83, 1885-86)

[Born c.1860, died Liverpool, Lancashire 31 Mar 1894]

Arthur Wilkinson, whose full name was Arthur Wilkinson Haigh, began his career on tour with Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "Second London" Company as Sir Joseph Porter in H.M.S. Pinafore (December 1879-February 1880). When the tour ended he transferred to Carte's "Second 'Pinafore' Company" (later "A" Company) as Sir Joseph. "A" Company became "B" in March 1881 when The Sorcerer was added to the tour. Wilkinson played Sir Joseph and John Wellington Wells in the new opera until August 1881.

He then was sent to New York were he appeared at the Standard Theatre in several D'Oyly Carte productions:as Major Murgatroyd in Patience (September 1881-March 1882), Sir Whiffle Waffle in Claude Duval (March-April 1882), Don Jose de Mantilla (September-October 1882) and Philip of Aragon (October 1882) in Les Manteaux Noirs, Captain Hugh Rowley in Rip Van Winkle (November 1882), and the Earl of Mountararat in Iolanthe (November 1882-February 1883).

Wilkinson remained in America and frequently returned to Gilbert & Sullivan. In October 1883 he appeared as Sir Joseph Porter and the Counsel to the Plaintiff in a Bijou Theatre H.M.S. Pinafore/Trial by Jury double bill in Boston, and in November-December 1883 he was the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe at the same theatre. From February 26 to March 22, 1884, Wilkinson took the role of Florian in New York's first production of Princess Ida, staged with D'Oyly Carte authorization at the Fifth Avenue Theatre by E. E. Rice. In May 1885 he appeared in Trial by Jury as part of a benefit at the Boston Theatre.

In November 1885 he returned to the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company in Boston in the title role in The Mikado with Carte's Second American Mikado Company managed by John Stetson. He made an emergency appearance as Ko-Ko during the week of December 28, but was back playing the Mikado the following week. Wilkinson left the Company in mid-January 1886.

Wilkinson eventually returned to England, appearing in London in The Wedding Eve (Trafalgar Square, 1892), The Golden Web (Lyric, 1893), and Poor Jonathan (Prince of Wales's, 1893). He was appearing in The Golden Web at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, in March 1894, when he and a party of friends were returning from the Liverpool Spring races. The four-in-hand coach in which they were riding overturned and Wilkinson died of his injuries. He was just 34 years old at the time.

His wife, Perle Dudley, also appeared with the D'Oyly Carte in America in 1885-86.

Page modified September 7, 2001 © 2001 David Stone