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Woffington, Margaret

WOFFINGTON, MARGARET [PEG] (c. 1714-1760), English actress, was born at Dublin, of poor parents. As a child of ten she played Polly Peachum in a lilliputian presentation of The Beggar's Opera, and danced and acted at various Dublin theatres until 1 740, when her success as Sir Harry Wildair in The Constant Couple secured her a London engagement. In this, and as Sylvia in The Recruiting Officer, she had a pronounced success; and at Drury Lane and Covent Garden, as well as in Dublin, she appeared in all the plays of the day to ever growing popularity. Among Ijer best impersonations were the elegant women of fashion, like Lady Betty Modish and Lady Townley, and in " breeches parts " she was unapproachable. She lived openly with Garrick, and her other love affairs were numerous and notorious, but her generosity and kindness of heart were equally well known. She educated her sister Mary, and cared for and pensioned her mother. She built and endowed by will some almshouses at Teddington, where she lived quietly after her retirement in 1757.

See Austin Dobson's introduction to Charles Reade's novel Peg Woffington (London, 1899), and Augustin Daly's Woffington: a Tribute to the Actress and the Woman (1888).

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

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