On the night he murdered Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth was considered to be the most famous actor in the country. Had Lincoln turned around only moments before he was shot by Booth, he would have recognized his assassin as one of his favorite actors. The Lincolns even had a photo of him in their own family album.
To drown out the sound of his Derringer and confuse the audience, Booth chose the funniest line in “Our American Cousin” – a line sure to draw belly laughs – to fire his gun.
Although Lincoln was tormented by nightmares of his own assassination, he refused to listen to his wife's pleas for increased security, illustrating how desperately he wanted to believe that the war was behind him.