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Leno, Dan

LENO, DAN, the stage-name of George Galvin (1861-1004), English comedian, who was born at Somers Town, London, in February 1861. His parents were actors, known as Mr and Mrs Johnny Wilde. Dan Leno was trained to be an acrobat, but soon became a dancer, travelling with his brother as " the brothers Leno," and winning the world's championship in clogdancing at Leeds in 1880. Shortly afterwards he appeared in London at the Oxford, and in 1886-1887 at the Surrey Theatre. In 1888-1889 he was engaged by Sir Augustus Harris to play the Baroness in the Babes in the Wood, and from that time he was a principal figure in the Drury Lane pantomimes. He was the wittiest and most popular comedian of his day, and delighted London music-hall audiences by his shop- walker, stores-proprietor, waiter, doctor, beef-eater, bathing attendant, " Mrs Kelly," and other impersonations. In 1900 he engaged to give his entire services to the Pavilion Music Hall, where he received 100 per week. In November 1001 he was summoned to Sandringham to do a " turn " before the king, and was proud from that time to call himself the " king's jester." Dan Leno's generosity endeared him to his profession, and he was the object of much sympathy during the brain failure which recurred during the last eighteen months of his life. He died on the 31st of October 1904.

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

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