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    Posted May 8, 2008

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Actors Fund Trustee Fran Gaar and actor Simon Jones cut into Shakespeare’s birthday cake

(Englewood, NJ) - The Actors Fund hosted their celebration of William Shakespeare's birthday on Monday, April 28th. More than a hundred quests were treated to a Shakespearean reading by acclaimed actor Simon Jones and a Shakespeare birthday cake at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, NJ, as part of the annual Edwin Forrest Day celebration.

English actor Simon Jones is best known for his role in the television and radio series of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Jones has also appeared in numerous other TV series, including Blackadder and Brideshead Revisited, and films, including Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, Brazil, Twelve Monkeys and Green Card.

Edwin Forrest Day is a very special day for The Actors Fund; a longstanding Actors Fund tradition that celebrates the legacy of Edwin Forrest by honoring William Shakespeare on his birthday. The centerpiece of this annual celebration is a performance from the Bard's work by a distinguished actor. Recent participants have included Actors' Fund Trustee Lynn Redgrave, Rosemary Harris, Zoe Caldwell and James Earl Jones.

Edwin Forrest had a tremendous impact on the development of theatre in the United States. At a time when the popular view was that only English actors could perform the words of Shakespeare, Forrest decided that the Bard's immortal words were his birthright as well - and by the time he was 30, he was a star on both sides of the Atlantic.

Edwin Forrest also forged the idea for a retirement home for performing artists - men and women who had traveled the country performing, devoting their lives to the theatre. He knew that actors deserved a place where they would be surrounded by their colleagues and treated with compassion and respect.

Edwin Forrest is remembered at The Actors Fund for his generosity and his legacy, with the Edwin Forrest Wing in Englewood. As a part of that legacy, his will instructed that each year a reading of Shakespeare be held to celebrate the Bard's birthday. The Actors Fund continues to carry out this proud tradition.

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