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William Pilgrim                                                                    Home


Mr WL Abingdon, for 10 years the villain in Adelphi drama, died in New York in 1918.


Born at Towcester in about 1858, his real name was William Pilgrim. His father, also William, was alternately a grocer and a tailor. As a boy he ran away to become a circus rider, but a detective brought him back. When a little older he helped to found Northampton Amateur Dramatic Society and so achieved his ambition of becoming a professional actor. For some years he played in Wilson Barretts repertoire company. His first London appearance was in 1886.


The Theatre wrote an appreciation of him: ‘He absolutely revels in scoundrelism - malignant, astute, wary, polished, cold-blooded scoundrelism… On the whole, it has been Mr. Abingdon’s usual fate on the London stage to be reviled by the heroine, vanquished by the hero, and finally led away to death or penal servitude midst the mingles plaudits and execrations of the pit and gallery… Off the stage, it should be added, his villainy is so successfully masked that he makes many friends.’ (1 November 1896, p.270). He was, however, described as a comedian in the 1891 Census.