ALDRIDGE, IRA F. Born in New York in 1807, Ira Frederick Aldridge was acknowledged as one of the best Shakespearean actors in the nineteenth century. His stage career began in New York when he joined the African Theater Company in 1821, but northern racial prejudice persuaded the aspiring actor to move to Europe. He studied briefly in Scotland before embarking on a stage career in London during the early 1830's. He soon acquired fame throughout most of Europe, especially for his portrayal of Othello. Aldridge died in 1867, never having performed professionally in his native America.