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Abbot, William (1790–1843), actor  

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 ...


Acres, Birt (1854?–1918), film-maker  

Stephen Herbert

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 ...


Cover Adam, Sir Kenneth Hugo (Ken) (1921–2016)

Adam, Sir Kenneth Hugo (Ken) (1921–2016)  

Maker: unknown


Sir Ken Adam (1921–2016), by unknown photographer, 1979

AF Archive/Alamy Stock Photo


Adam, Sir Kenneth Hugo [Ken] (1921–2016), art director and production designer for film  

Christopher Frayling

Adam, Sir Kenneth Hugo [Ken] (1921–2016), art director and production designer for film, was born Klaus Hugo Adam on 5 February 1921 in Berlin, one of four children of Fritz Adam (1880–1936) and his wife Lilli, née Saalfeld (...


Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer  

Nick Webb

Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001), writer, was born on 11 March 1952 at the maternity hospital in Cambridge, the son of Christopher Douglas Adams (d. 1985) and his wife, Janet Dora Sydney, née Donovan.


Cover Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001)

Adams, Douglas Noël (1952–2001)  

Maker: Brian Griffin


Douglas Noël Adams (1952–2001) by Brian Griffin, 1986 © Brian Griffin; collection National Portrait Gallery, London


Adams, (Wilfred) Robert (c. 1900–1965), actor  

Stephen Bourne

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 ...


Cover Adams, (Wilfred) Robert (c. 1900–1965)

Adams, (Wilfred) Robert (c. 1900–1965)  

Maker: Frank Lilley


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


Adams, William Bridges- (1889–1965), theatre producer  

Robert Speaight

revised by Stanley Wells

Adams, William Bridges- (1889–1965), theatre producer, was born on 1 March 1889 at 8 Marlborough Villas, Wealdstone, Harrow, the only son of Walter Bridges Adams (d. 1902), tutor, and his wife, Mary Jane Daltry (1854–1939) [see Adams, Mary Jane Bridges-]. Nothing in his background suggested a theatrical career, and he remained to the end of his days a quite untheatrical person. But he was brought up on ...


Adler, Jacob (1855–1926), actor  

Joel Berkowitz

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 ...


Adrian, Max [real name Max Bor] (1903–1973), actor  

John Elsom

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 ...


Agate, James Evershed (1877–1947), drama critic  

Ivor Brown

revised by Marc Brodie

Agate, James Evershed (1877–1947), drama critic, was born at Pendleton, Lancashire, on 9 September 1877, the eldest of the five sons and one daughter of Charles James Agate (1832–1909), cotton manufacturer's agent, and his wife, Eulalie Julia Young, daughter of a widowed piano teacher. Although generally regarded during his lifetime as the writer from ...


Cover Agate, James Evershed (1877–1947)

Agate, James Evershed (1877–1947)  

Maker: Howard Coster


James Evershed Agate (1877–1947) by Howard Coster, 1934 © National Portrait Gallery, London


Aggas, Robert (c. 1620–c. 1682), landscape and scene painter  

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 ...


Aherne, (William) Brian de Lacy (1902–1986), actor  

David Parkinson

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 ...


Aickin, Francis (c. 1735–1812), actor  

Peter Thomson

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...


Aickin, James (c. 1736–1803), actor  

Peter Thomson

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 ...


Ainley, Henry Hinchliffe (1879–1945), actor  

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 (1851–1919), cloth finisher, and his wife, Ada Hinchliffe (1850–1928). After education at the church school of ...


Alan, Ray [real name Raymond Alan Whyberd] (1930–2010), ventriloquist, writer, and television presenter  

Cy Young

Alan, Ray [real name Raymond Alan Whyberd] (1930–2010), ventriloquist, writer, and television presenter, was born on 18 September 1930 at 83 Dutton Street, Greenwich, London, the fourth son of Albert William Whyberd (1895–1984), shipping clerk, later a local government officer, and his wife, ...


Cover Alan, Ray (1930–2010)
Ray Alan (1930–2010) by Monty Fresco, 1979 [with puppet Lord Charles] © Monty Fresco / Rex Features