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Abington [née Barton], Frances [Fanny] (1737–1815), actress  

Alison Oddey

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 ...

Article

Achurch, Janet [real name Janet Sharp] (1863–1916), actress  

Eric Salmon

Achurch, Janet [real name Janet Sharp] (1863–1916), actress, was born at 47 Richmond Grove, Chorlton upon Medlock, Manchester, Lancashire, on 17 January 1863, the third and youngest daughter (there were also three sons) of William Prior Sharp (1824–1897), insurance agent, and his wife, ...

Article

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 (...

Article

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.

Article

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 ...

Article

Addison [née Wilmshurst], Laura (1822–1852), actress  

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

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 ...

Article

Aherne, Caroline Mary (1963–2016), comedian, actress, and writer  

Jeff Evans

Aherne, Caroline Mary (1963–2016), comedian, actress, and writer, was born on 24 December 1963 at Perivale maternity hospital, London, the second child of Bartholomew Edmond (Bert) Aherne (1933–1994), a railwayman with London Transport, and his wife Mary Frances (Maureen), née Regan...

Article

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, ...

Article

Albanesi, Margherita Cecilia Brigida Lucia Maria [Meggie] (1899–1923), actress  

Kate Dorney

Albanesi, Margherita Cecilia Brigida Lucia Maria [Meggie] (1899–1923), actress, was born at 4 Mandeville Place, Marylebone, London, on 8 October 1899, the second daughter of Carlo Albanesi (1858–1926), pianist, composer, and teacher of music at the Royal Academy of Music...

Article

Albery, Sir Bronson James (1881–1971), theatre director  

Wendy Trewin

Albery, Sir Bronson James (1881–1971), theatre director, was born at Greenhithe, Kent, on 6 March 1881, the second in the family of three sons of James Albery (1838–1889), dramatist, and his wife, Mary Charlotte Moore (1861–1931), actress, later Lady Wyndham. He was named after the American dramatist ...

Article

Albery, Sir Donald Arthur Rolleston (1914–1988), theatre manager  

Wendy Trewin

revised

Albery, Sir Donald Arthur Rolleston (1914–1988), theatre manager, was born on 19 June 1914 at 33 Cumberland Terrace, Regent's Park, London, the elder son and second of the four children of Sir Bronson James Albery (1881–1971), theatre director, and his wife, Una Gwynn (...

Article

Aldridge, Ira Frederick (1807?–1867), actor  

Heidi J. Holder

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 ...

Article

Alexander, Sir George [real name George Alexander Gibb Samson] (1858–1918), actor and theatre manager  

J. P. Wearing

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 ...

Article

Allan, Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock-, fourth baronet (1904–2003), film producer  

Alan Burton

Allan, Sir Anthony James Allan Havelock-, fourth baronet (1904–2003), film producer, was born on 28 February 1904 at Blackwell Manor, Blackwell, Darlington, co. Durham, the third son of Allan Havelock-Allan (1874–1949), army officer and landowner, and his first wife, Anne Julia, née Chaytor (...

Article

Allan, Maud [real name Ulla Maude Durrant] (1873–1956), dancer  

Jane Pritchard

Allan, Maud [real name Ulla Maude Durrant] (1873–1956), dancer, was born in Toronto, Canada, on 27 August 1873. Her name was registered as Ulla Maude Durrant, the daughter of William Allan Durrant (1851–1917), a shoemaker, and his wife, Isa...

Article

Allen, Dave [real name David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony] (1936–2005), comedian  

Dennis Barker

Allen, Dave [real name David Edward John Archer Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony] (1936–2005), comedian, was born on 6 July 1936 at Merrion House, Lower Fitzwilliam Street, Dublin, the youngest of three sons of (Gerard John) Cullen Tynan-O'Mahony (b. 1900), journalist and managing editor of the ...

Article

Alleyn, Edward (1566–1626), actor, theatre entrepreneur, and founder of Dulwich College  

S. P. Cerasano

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 ...

Article

Allgood, Sara (1883–1950), actress  

Susan C. Triesman

Allgood, Sara (1883–1950), actress, was born in Dublin on 31 October 1883, the second daughter of George Allgood (d. in or before 1911), a printing compositor, and his wife, Margaret Harold, a second-hand furniture seller.

Sara was educated at Marlborough Street Training College, Dublin...

Article

Alliss, Peter (1931–2020), golfer and broadcaster  

Richard Holt

Alliss, Peter (1931–2020), golfer and broadcaster, was born on 28 February 1931 in Berlin, the second son of Percy Alliss (1897–1975), a Yorkshire professional at the prestigious Wannsee Golf Club, and his first wife, Dorothy, née Rust (1891–1971), who was also a scratch golfer. His brother, ...