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Irving, Sir Henry 1838-

Actor; born in Keinton, near Glastonbury, England, Feb. 6, 1838. His real name was John Henry Brodribb, but he preferred the name of “Irving,” and in 1887 was permitted by royal license to continue the use of it. He was educated in a private school in London, and began his dramatic career in 1856, when he took the minor part of Orleans in Richelieu. In 1866 he established his reputation as an actor of merit at the St. James Theatre, in London, as Doricourt in The Belle's stratagem. In 1870 he appeared as Digby Grant in the Two Roses, which was played for 300 nights; and in 1871, after playing the part of Mathias in The bells at the Lyceum Theatre, he came to be regarded as the greatest actor in England. He assumed the management of the Lyceum Theatre in 1878, and raised that house to an international reputation. In May, 1881, he opened a memorable engagement with Edwin Booth, producing Othello, in which the two actors alternated the parts of Othello and Iago. He has made several successful tours of the United States in company with Ellen Terry, on one of which (1884) he delivered an address on The art of acting before the students of Harvard University. In a lecture on Amusements, before the Church of England Temperance Society, he made a strong defence of the morality of the stage. He published Impressions of America (1884). In 1895 he received the honor of knighthood.

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