James Henry Hackett, an American actor, born in New York, March 15, 1800, died at Jamaica, L. I., Dec. 28, 1871. He entered Columbia college in 1815, but remained only a year. In 1817 he began the study of law, and in the following year became a clerk in a grocery store. In 1819 he married an actress of the Park theatre. He was in mercantile business in Utica and in New York from 1820 to 1825, but failed, and then devoted himself to the stage, making his first appearance at the Park theatre, March 1, 1826, as Justice Woodcock. On March 10 he made a decided success as Sylvester Daggerwood. He went to England the same year, and also made successful professional visits there in 1832, 1840, 1845, and 1851. Upon his return from his first visit to England he appeared as Rip Van Winkle, and subsequently as Monsieur Mallet and Fal-staff. In 1829-'30 he was associated in the management of the Bowery and Chatham theatres in New York. In 1837 he managed the National theatre, and in 1849 he was lessee and manager of the Astor place opera house, and lost more than $4,000 by the Forrest and Macready riots. In 1854 he engaged Grisi and Mario, and gave successfully a series of Italian operas throughout the United States. Until 1809, when he withdrew from the stage, he continued to act at intervals.
His Falstaff was thought to be his best character, and in it he made his last appearance in New York, Dec. 25, 1869. He projected the plan for the Shakespeare monument in the Central Park, and the corner stone was laid under his auspices at the Shakespeare tercentenary, April 23, 1864. He published "Notes, Criticisms, and Correspondence upon Shakespeare's Plays and Actors" (New York, 1863).