CENTLIVRE, SUSANNA (c. 1667-1723), English dramatic writer and actress, was born about 1667, probably in Ireland, whither her father, a Lincolnshire gentleman named Freeman, had been forced to flee at the Restoration on account of his political sympathies. When sixteen she married the nephew of Sir Stephen Fox, and on his death within a year she married an officer named Carroll, who was killed in a duel. Left in poverty, she began to support herself, writing for the stage, and some of her early plays are signed S. Carroll. In 1706 she married Joseph Centlivre, chief cook to Queen Anne, who survived her. Her first play was a tragedy, The Perjured Husband (1700), and she herself appeared for the first time at Bath in her comedy Love at a Venture (1706). Among her most successful comedies are - The Gamester (1705); The Busy Body (1709); A Bold Stroke for a Wife (1718); The Basset-table (1706); and The Wonder! a Woman keeps a Secret (1714), in which, as the jealous husband, Garrick found one of his best parts. Her plots, verging on the farcical, were always ingenious and amusing, though coarse after the fashion of the time, and the dialogue fluent. She never seems to have acted in London, but she was a friend of Rowe, Farquhar and Steele. Mrs Centlivre died on the 1st of December 1723. Her dramatic works were published, with a biography, in 1761 (reprinted 1872).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)