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Ashbury, Joseph (1638–1720), actor and theatre manager, was born in Covent Garden, London. The names of his parents are not known. After an education at Eton College he was commissioned as ensign in the Irish army of James, first duke of Ormond, either in 1657 or 1658. He assisted the royalists at the taking of ...

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See Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft

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Benson, Sir Francis Robert [Frank] (1858–1939), actor and theatre manager, was born at Eden House, Tunbridge Wells, Kent, on 4 November 1858, the third son and fourth child of William Benson (1816–1887), a barrister and justice of the peace of Alresford, Hampshire, and his wife, ...

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Sir Francis Robert Benson (1858–1939) by Reginald Grenville Eves, 1924 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Betterton, Thomas (bap. 1635, d. 1710), actor and theatre manager, was baptized on 11 or 12 August 1635 at St Margaret, Westminster, London. His father, Matthew (d. 1663), was an under-cook to Charles I, according to Betterton's first biographer, Gildon. His mother was ...

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Thomas Betterton (bap. 1635, d. 1710) studio of Sir Godfrey Kneller [original, 1690s] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Biddles, James (1815–1871?), actor and theatre manager, was born at Mountsorrel, near Loughborough, the eldest of the seven sons of James Biddles, a Leicestershire farmer, and his wife, Elizabeth. James Biddles the younger married Ann Maria Phillips (d. 1843) at St Margaret's Church, Leicester...

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Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph Bing (1902–1997) by Lotte Meitner-Graf © Lotte Meitner-Graf

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Bing, Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph (1902–1997), opera manager, was born in Vienna on 9 January 1902, the son of Ernst Hoenigsvald Bing, head of the Austro-Hungarian Steel and Iron Trust, and his wife, Stefanie. The youngest of four children, he left school at the age of sixteen. He trained his attractive light baritone voice, but did not consider becoming a professional. In 1919 he obtained a job with the Viennese booksellers ...

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Black, George (1890–1945), theatre manager and impresario, was born on 20 April 1890 at 3 Court, 7 Sutton Street, Birmingham, one of three sons of George Black, then a house-painter, and his wife, Mary Davies. In the late 1890s his father gave up a post as property master at the ...

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Brunton, John (1741–1822), actor and theatre manager, was born in Norwich on 10 November 1741, the son of John Brunton, a soap maker, said to have come from a Scottish family tracing its descent from James II of Scotland. Young John Brunton went to ...

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Bunn, Alfred (1796–1860), theatre manager and librettist, was born on 8 April 1796. In his autobiography, The Stage: both Before and Behind the Curtain (3 vols., 1840), he implied that he came from an upper-class family, but gave no details. He published some poetical works, written in a conventional vein, in 1816 and 1819. In the latter year he embarked on the sequence of positions as lessee and manager of various theatres that, together with writing opera librettos, occupied most of his career. From 1819 until 1824 he held the lease of the ...

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Burbage, Cuthbert (1564/5–1636), theatre investor and entrepreneur, was baptized at St Stephen, Coleman Street, close to Guildhall, London, on 15 June 1565, the elder of the two surviving sons of James Burbage (c. 1531–1597) and his wife, Ellen, née Brayne (c.1542–1613)...

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Charles Alexander Calvert (1828–1879) by William Keith, c. 1860 [as Caliban in The Tempest] V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum

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Calvert, Charles Alexander (1828–1879), actor and theatre manager, was born in London on 28 February 1828, the son of William Henry Calvert (d. 1857), a silk merchant, who claimed descent from George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore. A. W. Ward's assertion (...

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Carr, Joseph William Comyns (1849–1916), author, gallery director, and theatre manager, was born on 2 March 1849 at 47 Devonshire Street, Marylebone, Middlesex, the seventh of the ten children of Jonathan Carr, a woollen draper, and his wife, Catherine Grace Comyns. His father was from ...

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Cawdell, James (bap. 1749, d. 1800), actor and theatre manager, was baptized at Baldock, Hertfordshire, on 6 February 1749, the eldest son and second of seven children of John Caudel (d. 1771), a cooper, and his wife, Mary Bates (bap. 1718, ...

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Chute, James Henry (1808x10–1878), actor and theatre manager, was almost certainly the son of Stephen and Jane Chew (or Chute) baptized at Alverstoke, Hampshire, on 21 August 1808, although his birth is sometimes reported as having taken place at nearby Gosport on 4 July 1810. His first recorded appearance on the stage was at the ...

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Cibber, Colley (1671–1757), actor, writer, and theatre manager, was born on 6 November 1671 at Southampton Street, Bloomsbury, London, the eldest child of Caius Gabriel Cibber (1630–1700), sculptor, and his second wife, Jane (c.1646–1697), daughter of William Colley of Glaston, Rutland...

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Colley Cibber (1671–1757) by Edward Fisher, 1758 (after Jean Baptiste van Loo, 1740) [with a girl formerly thought to be his daughter Charlotte Charke] © National Portrait Gallery, London