WARFIELD, DAVID (1866–1951), U.S. actor. His roles ranged from a youthful burlesque, "Solomon Yankel," to a controversial portrayal of Shylock. His Jewish specialty was developed by David *Belasco into the role of Solomon Levi in The Auctioneer (1901) which Warfield played for three years, establishing the type of sentimental Jewish hero. Another of his long-playing roles was that of the German musician in The Music Master, a play which ran from 1903 to 1907, and again in 1917–18. In 1922 at the height of Warfield's popularity, Belasco produced The Merchant of Venice, and Warfield portrayed Shylock as a man crazed by persecution. The adverse criticism which greeted this interpretation was said to have influenced his retirement in 1924. Warfield was a collaborator in a volume of sentimental sketches, Ghetto Silhouettes (1902).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.