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Delpini, Carlo Antonio (c. 1740–1828), pantomimist, was born in Rome, possibly in the parish of San Martino, and was a pupil of Nicolini. His first London engagement was apparently with David Garrick at Drury Lane in 1774, although two years later, on 26 December 1776 at ...

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Graves, George Windsor (1873–1949), comedian, was born at 13 Mare Street, Hackney, London, on 2 January 1873, the youngest child of Thomas Graves, a publican, and his second wife, Martha Alice, daughter of John Mulvey, a compositor. From early childhood it was his desire to be an actor although he had no theatrical ancestry. He left ...

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Joseph Grimaldi (1778–1837) by Samuel De Wilde, c. 1807 [as Clown in Harlequin and Mother Goose, or, The Golden Egg] Garrick Club / the art archive

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Grimaldi, Joseph [Joe] (1778–1837), actor and pantomimist, was born on 18 December 1778 in Stanhope Street, Clare Market, London, into a family of dancers and clowns (he claimed, it appears falsely, to have been born a year later). His paternal grandfather, Giovanni Battista ‘Iron Legs’ Grimaldi...

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Lee, (Richard) Nelson (1806–1872), pantomimist and theatrical entrepreneur, claimed that he was born on 8 January 1806 at Kew, Surrey, though this is unverified. He was the son of Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Lee, 63rd regiment of foot, who died in Martinique in 1811, and was probably brought up at ...

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Payne, William Henry Schofield (1804–1878), actor and pantomimist, was born in the City of London and was apprenticed to Isaac Cowen, a stockbroker. When he was in his eighteenth year he ran away, and joined a travelling theatre company on the Warwickshire circuit, and rose to play small parts at the ...

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John Rich (1692–1761) by unknown artist, 1753 [as Harlequin] Garrick Club / the art archive

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Rich, John (1692–1761), pantomimist and theatre manager, the fifth of the seven children (of whom only two sons survived) of Christopher Rich (bap. 1647, d. 1714), a London attorney and theatre manager, and his wife, Sarah Bewley (bap. 1662, d. 1694), was baptized on 19 May 1692 at ...

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Robey, Sir George [real name George Edward Wade] (1869–1954), comedian, was born on 20 September 1869 at 334 Kennington Road, London, the elder of two sons of George Wade, civil engineer, and his wife, Elizabeth Mary Keene. He also had two sisters. His father often worked on tramway installations which took him and his family to the provinces and abroad, with the result that ...

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Sir George Robey (1869–1954) by unknown photographer V&A Images, The Victoria and Albert Museum