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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, (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 ...

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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, 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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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, 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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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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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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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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Asherson, Renée [real name Dorothy Renée Ascherson] (1915–2014), actress, was born on 19 May 1915 at 2 Cornwall Gardens, Kensington, London, the younger daughter of Charles Stephen Ascherson (1877–1945), a shipowner of German Jewish descent, and his second wife, ...