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E. D. Cook

revised by Katharine Cockin

Abbot, William (1790–1843), actor, was born at Chelsea, London, on 12 June 1790. He made his stage début in 1806 at Bath, and remained a member of the Bath company for some seasons. He appeared at the Haymarket in London in the summer of 1808, on the occasion of the benefit of the tragedian ...

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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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Frances Abington (1737–1815) by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1771 [as Miss Prue in Love for Love by William Congreve] Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection

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Janet Achurch (1863–1916) by Barraud, 1887 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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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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(Wilfred) Robert Adams (c. 1900–1965) by Frank Lilley, 1949 Getty Images – Frank Lilley

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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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Laura Addison (1822–1852) by W.? Hollis, pubd 1851 (after Paine) [as Imogen in Cymbeline] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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...

Article

Adler, Jacob (1855–1926), actor, was born on 1 January 1855 in Odessa, Ukraine, the son of Feivl Abramovich, an Orthodox Jewish wheat merchant, and his wife, Hesye. Of the twelve children of Hesye and Feivl (she had one son with her first husband, whom she divorced), only ...

Article

Adrian, Max [real name Max Bor] (1903–1973), actor, was born on 1 November 1903 in northern Ireland, the son of Edward Norman Cavendish Bor and his wife, Mabel Lloyd, née Thornton. He was educated at Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, renowned for its teaching of English, whose past pupils included ...

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Aherne, (William) Brian de Lacy (1902–1986), actor, was born on 2 May 1902 at The Pleasaunce, King's Norton, Worcestershire, the son of William Lacy Ahern (1867–1945) (who later amended his name to Willoughby de Lacy Aherne), architect, and his wife, Annie ...

Article

Aickin, Francis (c. 1735–1812), actor, was born in Dublin. After a brief period of work in his father's weaving business, in 1754 he followed his younger brother James Aickin into the theatre, and over the next ten years performed in most of Ireland's...

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Aickin, James (c. 1736–1803), actor, was born in Dublin, the younger son of a weaver. While still under the age of twenty he joined an Irish theatre company, thus setting a precedent which his older brother Francis Aickin would soon follow. Aickin made a sufficient impression to earn himself a place at the ...

Article

S. R. Littlewood

revised by K. D. Reynolds

Ainley, Henry Hinchliffe (1879–1945), actor, was born at Morley, near Leeds, on 21 August 1879, the only son and eldest child of Richard Ainley, cloth finisher, and his wife, Ada Hinchliffe. After education at the church school of St Peter's, Morley, he became clerk in a bank at ...

Article

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

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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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Sir George Alexander (1858–1918) by Ellis & Walery © National Portrait Gallery, London

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