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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, 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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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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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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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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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 ...

Article

Alan, Ray [name in religion Raymond Alan Whyberd] (1930–2010), ventriloquist, writer, and television presenter, was born on 18 September 1930 at 83 Dutton Street, Greenwich, London, the fourth son of Albert William Whyberd (1895–1984), shipping clerk, later a local government officer, and his wife, ...

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Albanesi, Margherita Cecilia Brigida Lucia Maria [Meggie] (1899–1923), actress, was born at 4 Mandeville Place, Marylebone, London, on 8 October 1899, the second daughter of Carlo Albanesi (1858–1926), pianist, composer, and teacher of music at the Royal Academy of Music...

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Albery, Sir Bronson James (1881–1971), theatre director, was born at Greenhithe, Kent, on 6 March 1881, the second in the family of three sons of James Albery (1838–1889), dramatist, and his wife, Mary Charlotte Moore (1861–1931), actress, later Lady Wyndham. He was named after the American dramatist ...

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Albery, Sir Donald Arthur Rolleston (1914–1988), theatre manager, was born on 19 June 1914 at 33 Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London, the elder son and second of the four children of Sir Bronson James Albery (1881–1971), theatre director, and his wife, Una Gwynn (...

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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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Allan, Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock-, fourth baronet (1904–2003), film producer, was born on 28 February 1904 at Blackwell Manor, Blackwell, Darlington, co. Durham, the third son of Allan Havelock-Allan (1874–1949), army officer and landowner, and his first wife, Anne Julia, née Chaytor (...

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Allan, Maud [real name Ulla Maude Durrant] (1873–1956), dancer, was born in Toronto, Canada, on 27 August 1873. Her name was registered as Ulla Maude Durrant, the daughter of William Allan Durrant (1851–1917), a shoemaker, and his wife, Isa...

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Allen, Dave [real name David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony] (1936–2005), comedian, was born on 6 July 1936 at Merrion House, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, the youngest of three sons of (Gerard John) Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony (b. 1900), journalist and managing editor of the ...

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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...

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Anderson, Gerald Alexander [Gerry] (1929–2012), television producer, writer, and director, was born Gerald Alexander Abrahams on 14 April 1929 at the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, London, the second son of Joseph Abrahams, commercial clerk, the son of east European Jewish immigrants, and his wife, ...

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, 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 ...