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E. D. Cook

revised by Katharine Cockin

Abbot, William (1790–1843), actor, was born at Chelsea, London, on 12 June 1790. He made his stage début in 1806 at Bath, and remained a member of the Bath company for some seasons. He appeared at the Haymarket in London in the summer of 1808, on the occasion of the benefit of the tragedian ...

Article

Abington [née Barton], Frances [Fanny] (1737–1815), actress, was born in lowly circumstances and grew up in the slums around Drury Lane. Her mother died when she was fourteen; her father, who according to some accounts was the son of Christopher Barton of ...

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Frances Abington (1737–1815) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1771 [as Miss Prue in Love for Love by William Congreve] Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

Article

Achurch, Janet [real name Janet Sharp] (1863–1916), actress, was born at 47 Richmond Grove, Chorlton upon Medlock, Lancashire, on 17 January 1863, the third and youngest daughter (there was also a son) of William Prior Sharp, insurance agent, and his wife, Jane, ...

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Janet Achurch (1863–1916) by Barraud, 1887 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Acres, Birt (1854?–1918), film-maker, was born in Richmond, Virginia, USA, most probably on 23 July 1854, to British parents who had emigrated to America as prospective farmers. No record of his early life has been found; we know only that his father's name was ...

Article

Actresses’ Franchise League [AFL] (act. 1908–1958) was formed in 1908 as ‘a bond of union between all women in the Theatrical profession who are in sympathy with the Woman’s Franchise Movement’. The organization was itself ‘strictly neutral in regard to Suffrage Tactics’ and membership was open to women who were or had been ‘connected with the Theatrical profession in any of its branches’. The constitution of the league declared its objectives as being to convince members of the theatrical profession of the necessity of extending the franchise to women on the same terms as men. It would campaign by using what it called ‘educational methods’ including propaganda meetings, and plays, sale of literature, and lectures (...

Article

Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.

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Douglas Noël Adams (1952–2001) by Brian Griffin, 1986 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Adams [née Campin], Mary Grace Agnes (1898–1984), television producer and programme director, was born on 10 March 1898 at Well House Farm, Hermitage, Berkshire, the elder of two daughters (her sister died aged three) and second of four children of Edward Bloxham Campin...

Article

Adams, (Wilfred) Robert (c. 1900–1965), actor, was born in Georgetown, British Guiana, the son of Robert Adams, boat builder. He was educated at St Stephen's Scots School, later St Joseph's Intermediate. In 1920 he won a government scholarship to be trained as a teacher at ...

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(Wilfred) Robert Adams (c. 1900–1965) by Frank Lilley, 1949 Getty Images – Frank Lilley

Article

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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Laura Addison (1822–1852) by W.? Hollis, pubd 1851 (after Paine) [as Imogen in Cymbeline] © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

E. D. Cook

revised by J. Gilliland

Addison [née Wilmshurst], Laura (1822–1852), actress, the daughter of Thomas Wilmshurst, a grocer, was born at Colchester, Essex, on 15 November 1822. Despite family opposition, her lack of training, and the absence of any patronage, she made her stage début in Norwich...

Article

Adler, Jacob (1855–1926), actor, was born on 1 January 1855 in Odessa, Ukraine, the son of Feivl Abramovich, an Orthodox Jewish wheat merchant, and his wife, Hesye. Of the twelve children of Hesye and Feivl (she had one son with her first husband, whom she divorced), only ...

Article

Adrian, Max [real name Max Bor] (1903–1973), actor, was born on 1 November 1903 in northern Ireland, the son of Edward Norman Cavendish Bor and his wife, Mabel Lloyd, née Thornton. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, renowned for its teaching of English, whose past pupils included ...

Article

Ivor Brown

revised by Marc Brodie

Agate, James Evershed (1877–1947), drama critic, was born at Pendleton, Lancashire, on 9 September 1877, the eldest of the five sons and one daughter of Charles James Agate (1832–1909), cotton manufacturer's agent, and his wife, Eulalie Julia Young, daughter of a widowed piano teacher. Although generally regarded during his lifetime as the writer from ...

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James Evershed Agate (1877–1947) by Howard Coster, 1934 © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

W. C. Monkhouse

revised by Arianne Burnette

Aggas, Robert (c. 1620–c. 1682), landscape and scene painter, was the son of Samuel Agas of St Andrew's parish, Holborn. The family was originally from Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk. Samuel Agas was the son of Edward Aggas, a bookseller and printer, and relative of ...