Henry Irving

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Henry Irving, as Hamlet, in a 1893 illustration from The Idler magazine

John Henry Brodribb Irving (February 6, 1838October 13, 1905), better known as Sir Henry Irving, was one of the most famous stage actors of all time.

He was born at Keinton Mandeville in the English county of Somerset, and worked as a clerk in London before becoming an actor. His first appearances were in Scotland and the north of England, and he did not tread the London stage until 1866. He played all the major Shakespearian roles, including Hamlet, Macbeth and Othello, and by 1878, when he entered into a partnership with the actress Ellen Terry and became the manager of the Lyceum Theatre in London, he was already famous. In 1895, he became the first actor ever to receive a knighthood. He and Ellen Terry continued to work together until 1902, but the Lyceum had been sold in 1898. One of Irving's sons, Laurence Irving, was a dramatist.

He was buried in Westminster Abbey. There is a statue near the National Portrait Gallery in London.

Henry Irving is also the likely physical basis for the character of Bram Stoker's Dracula, as Stoker and Irving were friends and collaborators.de:Henry Irving

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