San Francisco Characters

Actions Past Players

The skilled group of actors, avid researchers, amateur historians and detail obsessed costumers called Actions Past Players have brought to life a rich collection of historical characters which populated 19th century San Francisco. View the list of our current characters below.

These, and other, characters are available to enliven your next gathering. Invite Actions Past Players to engage, entertain and educate your guests with our unique and lively performance.

Denizens of the Barbary Coast

  • Happy Jack Harrington - Dandy, Entrepreneur and owner of Opéra Comique on Murderer’s Corner. Temporary temperance trooper.
  • Shanghai Kelly (and his associate Corraigh Paddy) - A "benevolent" boarding house owner who mugged or drugged sailors to sell to ship captains as crew.
  • Irene McCready - Barbary Coast Madam and owner of the infamous gambling saloon, the El Dorado.
  • Charles Cora – A well-known professional gambler and faro dealer. Proprietor of Cora House, San Francisco’s most lavish and opulent gambling house. If you feel the need to “buck the tiger” (go for broke), you will find Cora’s faro tables to be among the City’s most honest.
  • Arabella Ryan (Belle Cora) - Charles Cora’s business partner and companion. Together, they own Cora House, San Francisco’s most elegant “Gentlemen’s Club and Social Parlor”. While Charles operates the gambling side of the House, Belle and her ladies attend to the more concupiscent needs of its clientele.
  • Noramae Cook – The most beautiful, and the most skilled in the arts of l’amour, of all the demimondes in the entire city.
  • Pyrite Pete - Naïve but enthusiastic “49er”, ready for anything his gold-hunting adventure has in store for him.


  • Anna Bishop - World traveling opera singer (and shipwreck survivor).
  • Lotta Crabtree – "Miss Lotta, the San Francisco Favorite" was an actress, entertainer and comedian, the "The Nation's Darling."
  • Lillie Langtry – Actress, producer and celebrated woman of beauty and charm.


  • Mayor Adolph Sutro - A humble man; namesake of Sutro Baths, Sutro Tower, Sutro Park, Sutro Library, Sutro Tunnel, Sutro Forest and Sutro City.
  • Lillie Hitchcock Coit - The eccentric Lillie Coit was Knickerbocker Engine Co. No. 5’s most ardent supporter. Her bequest funded the Coit Tower.
  • Phoebe Hearst - Wife of George Hearst, a successful gold miner, and mother of William Randolph Hearst, Phoebe became a noted feminist, suffragist and a major benefactor of educational institutions.


  • Samuel Brannan - A self-promoter and a man of many talents and interests. Brannan was an early settler, businessman, journalist, and prominent Mormon who founded the first newspaper in San Francisco. Often credited with being the earliest to publicize the California Gold Rush. Although California's first Millionaire, he died poor in obscurity.
  • Charles Crocker – Builder of the first transcontinental railroad, and owner of a San Francisco tourist attraction.
  • Leland Stanford - Governor and senator of California. Member of the Big Four, and founder of the Central and Southern Pacific railroads.
  • Domingo Ghirardelli - Brought the art of chocolate making to San Francisco in 1849, and later located to a place we now call Ghirardelli Square.
  • Otto Schinkel Jr. - Co-founder of Anchor Brewing.
  • Asbury Harpending – Confederate secret agent and participant in the “Great Diamond Hoax.”

Arts and Literature

  • Mark Twain - American writer, humorist and entrepreneur, who first attained success as a writer in California with his story "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
  • William Keith - California early days painter-poet and mystic, and companion to John Muir.
  • Ina Coolbrith - Poetess and librarian; friend of Bret Harte; co-editor of Overland Monthly.
  • Mrs. F. H. Day - Editor of the Hesperian magazine.


  • Harry Love - Captain of the California Rangers, killed the outlaw Joaquin Murrieta and keeper of a grisly souvenir.

The Military

  • Private John F Klingensmith - Company I of the 9th United States Regular Infantry, stationed at Fort Point.


  • Mrs. Theodore McCoid (Mollee) - Wife of the greengrocer at Franklin and California.