Ira Aldridge, an acclaimed New York-born actor who became the first black man to play Othello in Europe, was an American and later British stage actor and playwright who made his career after 1824 largely on the London stage and in Europe, especially in Shakespearean roles. Born in New York City, Aldridge is the only actor of African-American descent among the 33 actors of the English stage honored with bronze plaques at the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-upon-Avon. He was especially popular in Prussia and Russia, where he received top honors from heads of state. Aldridge eventually became a renowned thespian in Europe, touring countries like Austria and Russia and earning the nickname "African Roscius." He also used his fame to call for slavery's end.
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