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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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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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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

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (bap. 1744, d. 1786), actress and singer, was baptized on 12 October 1744 at St Mary-at-Lambeth, the daughter of Valentine Snow (d. 1770) and his wife, Mary, and not in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, as stated in ...

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Marie Effie Bancroft, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921) by Barraud, 1885 [The Bancrofts: and Squire Bancroft (1841-1926)] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft (1839–1921), actress and theatre manager, was born on 12 January 1839, probably in Doncaster, the eldest of the six daughters of Robert Pleydell Wilton (1800–1873), a provincial actor, and his wife, Georgina Jane (1818–1866), the daughter of ...

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See Bancroft [née Wilton], Marie Effie, Lady Bancroft

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Elizabeth Bannister (1757–1849) by John Russell, 1799 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce '...

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Joseph Knight

revised by Nilanjana Banerji

Bannister, John (1760–1836), actor, born at Deptford on 12 May 1760, was the son of the actor Charles Bannister (bap. 1741, d. 1804) and his wife Sarah. In 1777 he became a student at the Royal Academy, where he had for associate and friend the caricaturist ...

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Barnes, John Henry (1850–1925), actor, was born at Watlington, Oxfordshire, on 26 February 1850, the son of John Barnes, a miller and farmer, and his wife, Mildred (née Smith). His interest in acting was awakened by the sermons of J. C. M. Bellew...

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Barry, Richard, seventh earl of Barrymore (1769–1793), rake and actor, was born on 14 August 1769, probably in London, the second child and eldest of three sons of Richard Barry, sixth earl of Barrymore (1745–1773), and Lady Emily Stanhope (1749–1780), daughter of William Stanhope, ...

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See Bateman, Hezekiah Linthicum