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King, Thomas

KING, THOMAS (1730-1805), English actor and dramatist, was born in London on the 20th of August 1730. Garrick saw him when appearing as a strolling player in a booth at Windsor, and engaged him for Drury Lane. He made his first appearance there in 1748 as the Herald in King Lear. He played the part of Allworth in the first presentation of Massinger's New Way to Pay Old Debts (1748), and during the summer he played Romeo and other leading parts in Bristol. For eight years he was the kading comedy actor at the Smock Alley theatre in Dublin, but in 1759 he returned to Drury Lane and took leading parts until 1802. One of his earliest successes was as Lord Ogleby in The Clandestine Marriage (1766), which was compared to Garrick's Hamlet and Kemble's Coriolanus, but he reached the climax of his reputation when he created the part of Sir Peter Teazle at the first representation of The School for Scandal (1777). He was the author of a number of farces, and partowner and manager of several theatres, but his fondness for gambling brought him to poverty. He died on the nth of December 1805.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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