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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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Achurch, Janet [real name Janet Sharp] (1863–1916), actress, was born at 47 Richmond Grove, Chorlton upon Medlock, Manchester, Lancashire, on 17 January 1863, the third and youngest daughter (there were also three sons) of William Prior Sharp (1824–1897), insurance agent, and his wife, ...

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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 ...

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...

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Aldridge, Ira Frederick (1807?–1867), actor, was probably born on 24 July 1807 in New York city, the son of Daniel Aldridge, a lay preacher. Little is known of his mother, Lurona, who died when he was a youth. He was the first major African-American actor, although virtually all of his appearances were in ...

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Alexander, Sir George [real name George Alexander Gibb Samson] (1858–1918), actor and theatre manager, was born on 19 June 1858 at 1 Russell Villas, Russell Street, Reading, the eldest son in the family of at least three sons and one daughter of ...

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Alleyn, Edward (1566–1626), actor, theatre entrepreneur, and founder of Dulwich College, was born on 1 September 1566 in the London parish of St Botolph without Bishopsgate, 'near Devonshire House, where now is the sign of the Pye'. He was baptized the following day in the parish church, the son of ...

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Allgood, Sara (1883–1950), actress, was born in Dublin on 31 October 1883, the second daughter of George Allgood (d. in or before 1911), a printing compositor, and his wife, Margaret Harold, a second-hand furniture seller.

Sara was educated at Marlborough Street Training College, Dublin...

Article

Joseph Knight

revised by Katharine Cockin

Anderson, James Robertson (1811–1895), actor and theatre manager, was born in Glasgow on 8 May 1811, the son of an actor, John Symon Anderson. He was educated at a day school on Leith Walk, Edinburgh. He made his stage début as an infant in 1813 at the ...

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Anderson, Mary (1859–1940), actress, was born in Sacramento, California, USA, on 28 July 1859, the daughter of Charles Henry Anderson (d. 1863) and his wife, Antonia Leugers, and named Mary Antoinette. Her mother, a Philadelphian of German, staunchly Catholic descent, had been disowned by her family after eloping to ...

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Arnaud, Yvonne Germaine Jeanne (1890–1958), actress, was born on 20 December 1890 in Bordeaux, France, the daughter of Félix Léon Paul Arnaud, a colonel in the French army, and his wife, Antoinette de Montégu. Educated in Paris she won a first prize for piano playing at the ...

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Ashcroft, Dame Edith Margaret Emily [Peggy] (1907–1991), actress, was born on 22 December 1907 in Croydon, Surrey, the second of two children of William Worsley Ashcroft (1878–1918), a land agent, and his wife, Violetta Maud, née Bernheim (1874–1926), a keen amateur actress of Danish and German-Jewish descent. Known from childhood as ...

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Askey, Arthur Bowden (1900–1982), actor and entertainer, was born on 6 June 1900 at 29 Moses Street, Liverpool, the elder child and only son of Samuel Askey (d. 1958), secretary of the firm Sugar Products of Liverpool, and his wife, Betsy Bowden (...

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Atkins, (Alexander) Robert (1886–1972), actor and theatre director, was born in Dulwich, London, on 10 August 1886, the son of Robert Atkins (1854–1888), solicitor’s clerk, and his wife Annie, née Evans, whose father was Daniel Evans of the Victoria ironworks. Following his father’s death, he was brought up in ...

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Aylmer, Sir Felix [real name Felix Edward Aylmer Jones] (1889–1979), actor, was born on 21 February 1889 at Alexander House, Corsham, Wiltshire, the second child in the family of five sons (one of whom died as a child) and one daughter of ...

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Baddeley, Hermione Youlanda Ruby Clinton (1906–1986), actress, was born on 13 November 1906 in Broseley, Shropshire, the youngest of four daughters (there were no sons) of William Herman Clinton-Baddeley, composer and journalist, and his wife, Louise Rosalie Bourdin. A descendant both of Sir Henry Clinton (1738?–1795)...

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (bap. 1744, d. 1786), actress and singer, was baptized on 12 October 1744 at St Mary-at-Lambeth, the daughter of Valentine Snow (d. 1770) and his wife, Mary, and not in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, as stated in ...

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Badel, Alan Fernand (1923–1982), actor and theatre producer, was born in Rusholme, Manchester, on 11 September 1923, the son of Auguste Firman Joseph Badel (1891–1962), a shipping clerk and office manager of French birth, and his wife of Huguenot descent, Elizabeth Olive Till (...

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Bainbridge, Dame Beryl Margaret (1932–2010), actress, writer, and artist, was born on 21 November 1932 at 294 Menlove Avenue, Allerton, Liverpool, the younger child of Richard Bainbridge, commercial agent, and his wife, Winifred, née Baines. Her father was a self-made man who left school at ten, established himself successfully in business, but then went bankrupt as a result of the 1929 financial crash. His wife, who considered that her husband had married above himself, was disappointed and embittered by the family's reduced circumstances, and the young ...

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Baker, Sir (William) Stanley (1928–1976), actor and film producer, was born at 32 Albany Street in Ferndale, a village in the Rhondda valley in south Wales, on 28 February 1928, the third of the three children of John Henry Baker and his wife, ...