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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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Diana Dors (1931–1984) by Frank Buckingham?, 1955 Associated British-Pathe Ltd (courtesy Kobal)

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Dors [married names Hamilton, Dawson, Lake], Diana [real name Diana Mary Fluck] (1931–1984), actress, was born on 23 October 1931 in Swindon, Wiltshire, the only child of Albert Edward Sidney Fluck (1893–1963) of Swindon, a railway clerk and former army captain, and his wife, ...

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Farren, William (1825–1908), actor, born at 30 Brompton Square, London, on 28 September 1825, was the elder son of the actors William Farren (1786–1861) and his partner (later wife), Harriet Elizabeth Savill, née Diddear, known as Mrs Faucit (1789–1857) [see under Saville, John Faucit...

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Goodman, Cardell (b. 1653), actor, was born in October or November 1653 in Southampton, the son of Cardell Goodman (1608–1654), rector of Freshwater, Isle of Wight, and his wife, Katherine. He was educated at Thomas Wyborrow's school, Cambridge, where his mother moved after her husband's death. In 1671 he took his degree from ...

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Hatton [née Kemble; other married name Curtis], Ann Julia (1764–1838), writer and actress, was born on 29 April 1764 in Worcester, the daughter of Roger Kemble (1722–1802), owner of a travelling theatre company, and his wife, Sarah Ward (1735–1807). Her siblings included ...

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Hicks, Sir (Edward) Seymour George (1871–1949), actor, theatre manager, and author, was born at La Fontaine, Queen's Road, St Helier, Jersey, on 30 January 1871, one of three sons among the four children of Lieutenant Edward Percy Hicks (d. c.1884) of the ...

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Naomi Eleanor Clare Jacob (1884–1964) by Bassano, 1939 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Jacob, Naomi Eleanor Clare [pseud. Ellington Gray; known as Naomi Ellington Jacob] (1884–1964), writer and actress, was born on 1 July 1884 at 20 High Saint Agnes Gate, Ripon, Yorkshire, the daughter of Samuel Jacob, a German Jew and schoolmaster, and Selina Sara (Nina) Ellington, ...

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Maria Theresa Kemble (1777–1838) by Samuel De Wilde [as Patie in The Gentle Shepherd by Allan Ramsay, adapted by Richard Tickell] Garrick Club / the art archive

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Joseph Knight

revised by K. A. Crouch

Kemble [née De Camp], Maria Theresa (1777–1838), actress, was born in Vienna on 17 January 1777, the eldest of the six children of George Lewis De Camp, a musician, and his wife, Jeanne Adrienne Dufour, a dancer. She was brought to England...

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Charles Macklin (1699?–1797) by John Opie, c. 1792 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Macklin [Melaghlin, MacLaughlin], Charles (1699?–1797), actor and playwright, was probably born in Culdaff, co. Donegal, Ireland, the son of William Melaghlin (or McLaughlin; d. 1704), a publican, and his wife, Agnes, née Flanagan (c.1660–1759). His origins and early years have been the subject of myth, speculation, and biographical fantasy. ...

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Michael Mohun (c. 1616–1684) by unknown artist, c. 1660 private collection; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Mohun [Moone], Michael (c. 1616–1684), actor and army officer, has an obscure family background. The variant form of his name, Moone, indicates that it was pronounced as a monosyllable: the written name Mohun scans so in verses of 1703. By his own account, written late in life, he became an actor in royal service in 1634, probably as a member of ...

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Owenson [formerly MacOwen], Robert Nugent (1744–1812), actor and theatre manager, was born in the barony of Tyrawley, co. Mayo, Ireland, the son Walter MacOwen and his wife, Sydney Bell. His parents were poor, and he was principally educated in a hedge-school. He converted to protestantism, Anglicized his name, and travelled to ...

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Wilfred Pickles (1904–1978) by Lenare, 1949 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Pickles, Wilfred (1904–1978), actor and broadcaster, was born on 13 October 1904 at 24 Conway Street, Halifax, the second of the four sons of Frederick Pickles (1880–1954), stonemason and builder, and his wife, Margaret (1876–1962), daughter of William Catterall and his wife, Ellen...

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Speaight, Robert William (1904–1976), actor and literary scholar, was born on 14 January 1904 at the Corner Cottage, St Margaret's Bay, Kent, the eldest of three sons of Frederick William Speaight and his wife, Emily Isabella, daughter of Frederick Elliott. His father ran a ...