Thomas Ince first appeared on the stage in New York at the Stanford Theater in Seven Ages, as a second to the star (Henry Dixie) in a comedy boxing match. He then spent two years associated with James A. Herne, a pioneer of theatrical realism, in the tour of Shore Acres. When he was given the part of a messenger boy in Charley's Uncle, an unsuccessful attempt to capitalize on the success of Charley's Aunt, cast member Eugene Sandow, a celebrated “strong man,” took a liking to Tom, and taught him physical training. Various theatrical jobs came, along with dry spells, and in between times he even joined a traveling medicine show. Before he was fifteen, Ince had appeared with Leo Ditrichstein in a play that marked the real beginning of his career, but his career commenced in earnest playing one of three “negro boys on the farm” in A Southern Romance, which opened September 4, 1897, at the Fifth Avenue Theater. Then the Beryl Hope Stock Company was formed and Ince, the youngest member, was enlisted as a “general utility” man, but also played every part imaginable, even an old maid, often changing parts weekly.
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