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Acres, Birt (1854?–1918), film-maker, was born in Richmond, Virginia, USA, most probably on 23 July 1854, to British parents who had emigrated to America as prospective farmers. No record of his early life has been found; we know only that his father's name was ...

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W. C. Monkhouse

revised by Arianne Burnette

Aggas, Robert (c. 1620–c. 1682), landscape and scene painter, was the son of Samuel Agas of St Andrew's parish, Holborn. The family was originally from Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk. Samuel Agas was the son of Edward Aggas, a bookseller and printer, and relative of ...

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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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Anderson [married name Sykes], Marjorie Enid (1913–1999), radio broadcaster, was born on 7 November 1913 at 35 Barton Street, London, the only child of Harold Harry Anderson (d. 1918/19), private secretary, of independent means, and his wife, Charlotte Augusta, née Boyle (...

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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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(Leslie Thomas) John Arlott (1914–1991) by unknown photographer, 1955 © Empics

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Arlott, (Leslie Thomas) John (1914–1991), writer and broadcaster, was born at Cemetery Lodge, Chapel Street, Basingstoke, Hampshire, on 25 February 1914, the only son of William John Arlott (1883–1959), cemetery registrar, and his wife, Ellen (Nellie) Jenvey-Clarke (c.1884–1975). He was educated at ...

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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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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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Ashbridge, Sir Noel (1889–1975), broadcasting engineer, was born on 10 December 1889 in Wanstead, Essex, the fourth son and youngest child of John Ashbridge, solicitor, of Wanstead, and his wife, Sylvia Moore. He was educated at Forest School, Snaresbrook, Essex, and King's College, London...

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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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Sir Frederick William Mallandaine Ashton (1904–1988) by Baron, c. 1945 Getty Images – Baron

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Ashton, Sir Frederick William Mallandaine (1904–1988), choreographer and director, was born on 17 September 1904 in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the fourth of the five children of George Ashton (1864–1924) and his second wife, Georgiana (1869–1939), daughter of Henry Fulcher and his wife, Edith. His father was manager of the ...

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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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See Astley, Philip

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Philip Astley (1742–1814) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Astley, Philip (1742–1814), equestrian performer and circus proprietor, was born on 8 January 1742 at Newcastle under Lyme, one of three children of Edward Astley (fl. 1725–1772), cabinet-maker and veneer cutter. Apprenticed to the family trade at nine, the forthright Astley had a traumatic relationship with his father and when he was seventeen left to join the ...