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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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Barnes, Sir George Reginald (1904–1960), radio and television director and college head, was born in Byfleet, Surrey, on 13 September 1904, the son of Sir Hugh Shakespear Barnes (1853–1940), lieutenant-governor of Burma, and his second wife, Edith Helen, sister of Sir Kenneth Barnes...

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Sir George Reginald Barnes (1904–1960) by Howard Coster, 1954 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Belzoni, Giovanni Battista (1778–1823), performing artist and Egyptologist, was born on 5 November 1778 in Padua, the son of a barber, Giacomo Belzoni, and his wife, Teresa. He went to Rome aged sixteen to prepare himself for monastic orders; he claimed also to have studied hydraulics. The French invasion of ...

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Giovanni Battista Belzoni (1778–1823) by Maxim Gauci, pubd 1821 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Black, Dorothy [Kitty] (1914–2006), theatrical agent and translator, was born on 30 April 1914 in Johannesburg, South Africa, the younger daughter and youngest of six children of Francis Black (d. 1918), quantity surveyor, and his wife, Elizabeth Johanna, née Albertyn. A brother, ...

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Brinson, Peter Neilson (1920–1995), writer and lecturer on dance, was born on 6 March 1920 at Sea View Villa, North Parade, Llandudno, the son of Harold Neilson Brinson, a major in the King's Liverpool regiment and cotton broker, and his wife, Vera Mabel Mathison...

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Calvert, Frederick Baltimore (1793–1877), actor and lecturer on elocution, was one of the eight children of Charles Calvert (1754–1797) [see under Calvert, Charles (1785-1852)], an amateur painter and steward to the duke of Norfolk at Glossop Hall, Derbyshire, and his wife, ...

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Nevill Henry Kendal Aylmer Coghill (1899–1980) by Ramsey & Muspratt, 1944 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Coghill, Nevill Henry Kendal Aylmer (1899–1980), university teacher and theatre producer, was born on 19 April 1899 at Castle Townshend, Skibbereen, co. Cork, the second of the three sons (the youngest child was a daughter) of Sir Egerton Bushe Coghill, fifth baronet, a noted amateur landscape painter, of ...

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Conti, Italia Emily Stella (1873–1946), actress and founder of the Italia Conti academy of theatre arts, was born on 9 September 1873 at 265 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, the eldest child of Luigi Conti (d. 1884), lyric singer, and his wife, Emily Mary (1844–1914)...

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Crampsey, Robert Anthony [Bob] (1930–2008), head teacher, writer, and broadcaster, was born on 8 July 1930 at 75 Clincart Road, Mount Florida, Glasgow (appropriately in the shadow of Hampden Park, the home of Scottish football), the eldest of the five children of an Irishman, ...

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Davies, Ann Lorraine [known as Ann Lindsay] (1914–1954), actress and translator, was born on 2 October 1914 at 125 Woodville Road, Cardiff, one of the five children of Morgan Davies (b. 1872), a master draper, and his wife, Sarah Ann, née...

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Dickinson, Thorold Barron (1903–1984), film director and teacher, was born on 16 November 1903 in Bristol, the son of the Ven. Charles Henry Dickinson (1871–1930), archdeacon of Bristol, and his wife, Beatrice Vindhya. He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol, and at Keble College, Oxford...

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Thorold Barron Dickinson (1903–1984) by Russell Westwood, 1930s © Estate of Russell Westwood / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Edwards, Owen (1933–2010), broadcasting executive and promoter of the Welsh language, was born on 26 December 1933 at Neuaddwen, Llanbadarn Road, Aberystwyth, the elder son of Sir Ifan ab Owen Edwards (1895–1970), educationist, and his wife, Eirys Mary, née Phillips (1897–1981). Both his father and his grandfather were pivotal in transforming the place of the Welsh language in Welsh society. His grandfather ...

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Fogerty, Elsie (1865–1945), founder and principal of the Central School of Speech and Drama, was born at Sydenham, London, on 16 December 1865, the daughter of Joseph Fogerty (d. 1899), engineer and architect, of Dublin, and his wife, Hannah Cochrane (d...

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Elsie Fogerty (1865–1945) by Reginald Grenville Eves, 1937 © reserved; reproduced by courtesy of Central School of Speech and Drama, Embassy Theatre, London

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Forman, Stanley (1921–2013), film distributor and archivist, was born Israel Forminsky on 26 December 1921 at 22 Rupert Street, Whitechapel, London, the son of Isaac Forminsky, later Israel Forman, a tailor's baster who eventually setup his own successful tailoring business, and his wife, ...