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Ira Frederick Aldridge (1807?–1867) by Henry Perronet Briggs, c. 1830 [as Othello] National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

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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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Edward Alleyn (1566–1626) by unknown artist by permission of the Trustees of Dulwich Picture Gallery

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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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Sara Allgood (1883–1950) attrib. Robert Gregory National Gallery of Ireland

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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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Mary Anderson (1859–1940) by W. & D. Downey, 1889 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Angel, Edward (d. 1673), actor and comedian, first came to public notice in winter 1659–60, when he joined the troupe assembled by John Rhodes at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. Angel's earliest recorded appearance was as Florimel in Fletcher and Rowley's The Maid in the Mill...

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Armin, Robert (1563–1615), actor and comic writer, was one of at least three children of John Armin, a tailor of King's Lynn. His probable date of birth is suggested by an indenture of October 1581, binding him for eleven years to John Lonyson...

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Armstrong, William (1882–1952), actor and theatre producer, was born at Edinburgh on 30 November 1882, the eldest son of John Armstrong, a grocer, and his wife, Annie Tait. Descended from schoolmasters and ministers, young William was brought up to be a devout Baptist and a teetotaller, and as raconteur and humorist would recall singing at ...

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Yvonne Germaine Jeanne Arnaud (1890–1958) by unknown photographer, 1930 Getty Images

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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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See Arne family

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Asche, (Thomas Stange Heiss) Oscar (1871–1936), actor and theatre producer, was born in Geelong, Victoria, Australia, on 24 January 1871, the son of Thomas Asche (1826–1898), a Norwegian by birth. Asche referred to his mother as being 'a Kentish woman of farming stock...

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Ashbury, Joseph (1638–1720), actor and theatre manager, was born in Covent Garden, London. The names of his parents are not known. After an education at Eton College he was commissioned as ensign in the Irish army of James, first duke of Ormond, either in 1657 or 1658. He assisted the royalists at the taking of ...

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Arthur Bowden Askey (1900–1982) by Anthony Buckley, 1939 © Kenneth Hughes / National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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Aston, Anthony [performing name Mat Medley] (c. 1682–1753?), actor and playwright, was probably born in Tamworth, Staffordshire, the son of Richard Aston, an attorney and principal of Furnival's Inn and secondary to the king's bench office; his mother was the daughter of ...

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Sophia Baddeley (1745?–1786) by Johan Zoffany [as Fanny Sterling, with Robert Baddeley (right) as Canton and Thomas King (centre) as Lord Ogleby, in The Clandestine Marriage by George Coleman the elder and David Garrick] Garrick Club; the art archive