–noun patronage bestowed or favoritism shown on the basis of family relationship, as in business and politics. In the entertainment industry, this is known as Hollywood NepotismTM. Talent not required.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

John Wilkes Booth: Actor/Assassin

As we celebrate the bicentennial of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, many people are unaware of the role that nepotism played in his death. Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington because it was a regular performance venue of the prestigious Booth theatrical family, which included John Wilkes Booth, his father, his two brothers, and a sister-in-law. Booth’s parents instilled in their children a strong anti-authoritarian streak, naming John after distant relative and radical British politician John Wilkes. There’s also a family connection to more recent British politics. For more on the Booth family, including a rare photo of the three Booth brothers on stage together, click here.

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