Henry B. Harris, who leaped into prominence in the New York theatrical field only about half a dozen years ago as manager, and producer, was, nevertheless, a veteran of many years' standing before metropolitan fame came to him, and is a member of an old theatrical family.
He was born in St. Louis Dec. 1, 1866. His father, William Harris, a theatrical manager of note, is now associated with the firm of Klaw & Erlanger. The son received his education at the public schools in that city and later in Boston, to which city his parents moved while he was yet a boy. It was in the Massachusetts capital that Harris got his first training as a theatrical man, becoming connected with the famous old Howard Athenaeum there. He remained identified with that house for several years, leaving it to become a partner in the firm of Rich & Harris, for many years active in the theatrical history of Boston. It was during his association with this firm that he laid the foundations of his future success by a number of highly successful ventures. Among the stars whom he managed in a number of successful plays at this time were May Irwin, Pete Dailey, and Mrs. Langtry.
He also produced "The Climbers," with Amelia Bingham in the principal feminine role, and the success of this play went far toward paving the way for Harris's coming to New York. After launching Robert Edeson on his starring career, Harris became manager of the Hudson Theatre, in West Forty-fourth Street, in 1903, a position which he held continuously ever since.
He acquired the Hackett Theatre in 1906, and soon after won one of the biggest victories of his whole career with Charles Klein's "The Lion and the Mouse," which was played by several companies throughout the United States for several years, and brought money and reputation to its producer.
Subsequent Harris successes were “The Traveling Salesman” and “The Third Degree.” Recently Mr. Harris had no less than sixteen companies on tour during a single season.
He is President of the Henry B. Harris Company and the National Producing Managers of America, Director in the Theatre Managers’ Association of Greater New York, Treasurer of the Actors' Fund of America, and Trustee of the Hebrew Infant Asylum of New York.
He belongs to the Lambs and Green Room Clubs. His New York residence is at 50 Central Park West, and he has offices in the Hudson Theatre building.
His wife, who was with him on the Titanic, was Miss Irene Wallach of Washington. Their marriage took place in 1898. She was of great help to her husband in his business, assisting him materially in his decisions regarding plays submitted to him. He stated once that he always consulted her before accepting a play, being a firm believer in the value of a woman's point of view regarding matters theatrical. She usually accompanied him on his trips to the various cities of the United States to be present at the opening nights of Harris productions.