Joseph Jefferson was destined to become an actor. Born into a family of actors on February 20, 1829, he was the third actor in his family to be named Joseph Jefferson, but, unlike his namesakes, the youngest Joseph became a star. At the age of three he made his stage debut. The big break that turned Jefferson into an international star, however, did not come until 1865. From then on, Jefferson was associated with the character he portrayed, a character that is as familiar to children now as it was to American and London audiences then.