German actor; born at Berlin Nov. 24, 1836. Thomas has had a most varied career. He made his début in 1852 with the company of Pitterlin, which traversed the Erzgebirge, Saxony. The plays were ultrasensational—"Der Wahnsinnige," "Die Giftmischerin," and "Die Grabesbraut." Thomas received no monetary compensation, being paid in food; and the arrangement lasted for three years. He then obtained engagements in Görlitz, Leipsic, Cologne, Danzig, and Breslau. In the last-named city, Dreichmann, director of the Friedrich-Wilhelmstädtische Theater, Berlin, saw the young actor and engaged him for his house. Thomas made his début there Dec. 3, 1861, as the Baker's Boy in "Hermann und Dorothea." So great was his success that he was made stage-manager. In this capacity he produced Offenbach's "Die Schöne Helene" (himself playing Kalchas) and Salingré's "Pechschulze." In 1866 Chéri Maurice engaged him for the Thalia Theater, Hamburg, where he remained until 1875, when he became manager of the Woltersdorfftheater, Berlin. Two years later he resigned and went on a starring tour which lasted a year; he then joined the Ringtheater, Vienna. After the destruction of this house in 1881, Thomas appeared at the Wallnertheater, Berlin. In 1886 he went with his wife, Betty Thomas-Damhofer, to the United States, scoring financial and artistic successes.

On his return to Germany in 1887, Thomas assumed the management of the Centraltheater, Berlin, which he renamed the "Thomas-Theater"; but his direction was most unsuccessful, and he was forced to relinquish it. Since then he has played in the principal theaters of Germany and Austria. Since 1902 he has acted at the Metropoltheater, Hamburg. His best rôles are: Striese in "Der Raub der Sabinerinnen"; Kälbchen in "1733 Thaler, 22½ Silbergroschen"; and Geier in "Der Flotte Bursche."

  • Das Geistige Berlin, p. 540;
  • Eisenberg, Biog. Lex.
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