19th-Century Marble Statue a Dead Ringer for Ron Swanson

Nick Offerman playing Ron Swanson compared to a nineteenth-century sculpture of Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest. Photo: via YouTube, and Reddit's tmcdizzle827.

An eagle-eyed Reddit user has spotted a marble statue that bears a striking resemblance to actor Nick Offerman, best known for playing the curmudgeonly libertarian Ron Swanson on television’s Parks and Recreation, reports MTV.

Despite the statue’s majestic mustache, it is not, in fact, a depiction of Swanson/Offerman, but another famous thespian: 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Forrest. Dating to 1865, the sculpture, by artist Thomas Ball, is housed at Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre.

It was there that Forrest made his stage debut way back in 1820, at the tender age of 14. “He was a huge actor, the Brad Pitt of his day,” the Walnut’s communications manager, Amy Rodgers, told MTV.

Thomas Ball's statue of Edwin Forrest that looks just like actor Nick Offerman. Photo: whereitbegan, via Reddit.

Thomas Ball’s statue of Edwin Forrest that looks just like actor Nick Offerman.
Photo: whereitbegan, via Reddit.

Appropriately, the two actors share more than their uber-masculine looks and common profession: both were avid woodworkers. Offerman is known for his wood shop, a trait he shares with his most famous character, while Forrest had a second career as a cooper. Offerman’s doppelganger was also known for his temper, and had a famous feud with a rival British actor. Basically, he sounds downright Swansonian.

The writers of Parks and Recreation should clearly incorporate the statue into a future plot line. A trip to historic Philadelphia, where the Founding Fathers helped create our nation, would be right up Leslie Knope’s alley, and Swanson would of course get dragged along. artnet News can picture Tom and Donna’s utter glee at discovering the lookalike bust—it’d be Duke Silver, Swanson’s saxophone-playing secret identity, all over again. They could even incorporate some sort of dream sequence transporting all of the characters back in time to recreate some of the more colorful sequences from Forrest’s life—according to Wikipedia, he once whipped a man in public for seducing his wife!

As for the statue, Forrest actually kept it in his home until his death in 1872, although it was so big that the base had to the kept outside. It’s been at the Walnut, which is only five blocks from Forrest’s grave, since 1999.

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