Born in San Francisco on this day in 1866, young David Wohlfet (later Warfield) started out as a kid performing in Barbary Coast variety saloons. He came to New York in 1890, becoming popular on the stage of the Casino theatre as well as Weber & Fields Music Hall. He was prized for his comical characterizations of kindly old men, and played several such parts for David Belasco, notably in The Return of Peter Grimm. He retired from the stage in 1923…and did not pass away until 1951. That is a lot of time to spend as a professional old man.
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.