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Robert Speaight

revised by Stanley Wells

Adams, William Bridges- (1889–1965), theatre producer, was born on 1 March 1889 at 8 Marlborough Villas, Wealdstone, Harrow, the only son of Walter Bridges Adams (d. 1902), tutor, and his wife, Mary Jane Daltry (1854–1939) [see Adams, Mary Jane Bridges-]. Nothing in his background suggested a theatrical career, and he remained to the end of his days a quite untheatrical person. But he was brought up on ...

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Anderson, Lindsay Gordon (1923–1994), film and theatre director, was born on 17 April 1923 at King Lodge, Bangalore, India, the second of the three sons of Major-General Alexander Vass Anderson (1895–1963) and his first wife, Estelle Bell, née Gasson (1898–1973). Both parents were Scottish, although his mother was born in ...

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Lindsay Gordon Anderson (1923–1994) by Lewis Morley, 1960 © Lewis Morley, courtesy of The Akehurst Bureau; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Archer, William (1856–1924), theatre critic and journalist, was born at 6 North Methven Street, Perth, Scotland, on 23 September 1856, the eldest son of the nine children of Thomas Archer (1823–1905) of Glasgow and his wife, Grace Lindsay Morison (1832–1911), the daughter of ...

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William Archer (1856–1924) by Sir Emery Walker, 1891 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Carte, Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly (1908–1985), theatre manager, was born on 25 March 1908 at Suffolk Street, Pall Mall, London, the elder child of Rupert D'Oyly Carte (1876–1948), chairman of the Savoy group of companies and proprietor of the D'Oyly Carte Opera Company...

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Dame Bridget Cicely D'Oyly Carte (1908–1985) by Jane Bown, 1982 © Jane Bown

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Horniman, Annie Elizabeth Fredericka (1860–1937), theatre patron and manager, was born at Surrey Mount, Forest Hill, London, on 3 October 1860, the only daughter of Frederick John Horniman (1835–1906), tea merchant and founder of the Horniman Museum, and his first wife, Rebekah Elmslie (1825–1895)...

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Annie Elizabeth Fredericka Horniman (1860–1937) by Flora Lion, c. 1912 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Lanchester [married name Laughton], Elsa Sullivan (1902–1986), actress and entertainer, was born on 28 October 1902 at 48 Farley Road, Lewisham, London, the second child of James Sullivan (d. 1945), factory worker and later commercial clerk, and Edith Lanchester (1871–1966), daughter of ...

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Elsa Sullivan Lanchester (1902–1986) by Doris Clare Zinkeisen, exh. RA 1925 © Estate of Doris Clare Zinkeisen; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Leon, Jack de (1902–1956), theatre manager and impresario, was born on 12 August 1902 at Colon, Panama, the second of eight children of Michael de Leon (1868–1914), merchant, and his wife, May Miriam Maduro (1881–1964). His love of drama developed from when he operated a puppet theatre as a child. In 1911 the family moved to ...

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Lewenstein, (Silvion) Oscar (1917–1997), theatre and film producer, was born at a private nursing home at 2 Queens Down Road, Clapton, London, on 18 January 1917, the eldest among the four children of Arthur Solomon Lewenstein (1886/7–1944), merchant, and his wife, Mary, née...

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Macauley, Elizabeth Wright (1785?–1837), actress and socialist, was born in York, probably in 1785. Her father, a poor man, died when she was only two, leaving his family destitute. According to her sketchy autobiographical memoirs, Macauley's first career was as an actress. She began by performing in barns in ...

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Robert Adolph Wilton Morley (1908–1992) by unknown photographer Rank (courtesy Kobal)

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Morley, Robert Adolph Wilton (1908–1992), actor and playwright, was born on 26 May 1908 in Semley, Wiltshire, the son of Major Robert Wilton Morley, retired, of the 4th dragoon guards and his wife, Gertrude Emily Fass. He was educated at several preparatory schools—his parents' lives being somewhat itinerant—and at ...

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Pearson, (Edward) Hesketh Gibbons (1887–1964), actor and biographer, was born on 20 February 1887 in Hawford, Worcestershire, the second of the two sons and four children of Thomas Henry Gibbons Pearson (1853–1942), gentleman farmer, churchwarden, and amateur sportsman, and his second wife, Amy Mary Constance (1855–1934)...

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Pinter, Harold (1930–2008), actor, playwright, and director, was born on 10 October 1930 at Tudor House, Newington Green, London, the only child of Hyman (Jack) Pinter (1902–1997), ladies' tailor, and his wife, Frances, née Moskowitz (1904–1992). At the time of his birth his parents lived at ...

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Harold Pinter (1930–2008) by Justin Mortimer, 1992 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Rylands, George Humphrey Wolferstan [Dadie] (1902–1999), literary scholar and theatre director, was born on 23 October 1902 at the Down House, Tockington, Gloucestershire, the second of three children of Thomas Kirkland Rylands, land agent, and his wife, Bertha (Betha) Nisbet Wolferstan, née Thomas...