Kemble, John Philip

▪ British actor
born Feb. 1, 1757, Prescot, Lancashire, Eng.
died Feb. 26, 1823, Lausanne, Switz.

      popular English actor and manager of the Drury Lane (Drury Lane Theatre) and Covent Garden theatres in London, where his reforms improved the status of the theatrical profession. He played heavy dramatic roles in the artificial and statuesque style then in vogue. His most famous roles were Shakespeare's (Shakespeare, William) Brutus in Julius Caesar and the title roles in Hamlet and, above all, Coriolanus. He excelled in declamation but could not express strong or subtle emotions.

      Eldest son in an acting family, Kemble spent his childhood on the stage. Later he trained for the priesthood in France, where he acquired a certain severity and asceticism that influenced his acting style. Finding that he had no vocation for the priesthood, he returned to England and the theatre, making his first adult appearance on the stage in 1776. After several years in the provinces, he played Hamlet in Dublin on Nov. 2, 1781, and made his London debut in the same role at Drury Lane on Sept. 30, 1783, with mixed results. It was, however, his performance in Macbeth on March 31, 1785, opposite his sister, the great tragedian Sarah Siddons (Siddons, Sarah), that established him as a popular favourite.

      Appointed manager of the Drury Lane Theatre in 1788, Kemble made important reforms in costumes, scenery, and management, introducing live animals and aquatic effects to the stage for the first time. As an actor, Kemble's tall and imposing figure, impressive countenance, and grave and solemn demeanour made him uniquely suited for the Roman characters in Shakespeare's plays. Because of conflicts with Richard Brinsley Sheridan, a dramatist and the proprietor of Drury Lane, Kemble resigned his position as manager, and though he resumed his duties temporarily at the beginning of the 1800–01 season, the connection between the two was permanently severed at the end of 1802. In 1803 he became manager of the Covent Garden, in which he had acquired a sixth share; when the playhouse burned down on Sept. 20, 1808, he suffered financially. The increase in prices after the opening of the new theatre in 1809 led to riots that practically suspended performances for three months. Kemble was saved from ruin by the sale of his fine library and by a large loan, afterward converted into a gift, from the Duke of Northumberland. Troubled by gout and threatened by the rising popularity of the great Romantic actor Edmund Kean (Kean, Edmund), he retired to the European continent after his last performance as Coriolanus on June 23, 1817.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • KEMBLE, JOHN PHILIP —    eldest son of Roger, born at Prescot, Lancashire; began to study for the Roman Catholic priesthood, but adopted the stage, and appeared first at Wolverhampton in 1776; after touring in Yorkshire and Ireland he came to London in 1783, playing… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • John Philip Kemble — (* 1. Februar 1757 in Preston, Lancashire; † 26. Februar 1823 in Lausanne) war ein englischer Schauspieler. Inhaltsverzeichn …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • John Philip Kemble — (1757 1823) est un acteur britannique. Biographie Né à Prescot dans le Lancastre, il était le fils du directeur du théâtre de Worcester. Il débuta en 1782 sur le théâtre de Dublin, puis vint à …   Wikipédia en Français

  • John Philip Kemble — Infobox actor name = John Philip Kemble imagesize = 250px caption = John Philip Kemble as Hamlet, from an engraving of a painting by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1802) birthname = birthdate = birth date|1757|2|1|df=y birthplace = Prescot, Lancashire… …   Wikipedia

  • John Kemble (martyr) — John Kemble (b. 1599, St Weonards, Herefordshire d. 22 August 1679, Widemarsh Common, Hereford) was an English Roman Catholic martyr. He was one of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales.Early years and ordinationJohn Kemble was born at Rhydicar… …   Wikipedia

  • Kemble, Fanny — ▪ British actress in full  Frances Ann Kemble  born Nov. 27, 1809, London, Eng. died Jan. 15, 1893, London  popular English actress who is also remembered as the author of plays, poems, and reminiscences, the latter containing much information… …   Universalium

  • Kemble — ist der Name von : Charles Kemble (1775–1854), englischer Schauspieler Edwin Kemble (Edwin Crawford Kemble; 1889–1984), US amerikanischer Physiker Frances Anne Kemble (1809–1893), englische Schauspielerin und Schriftstellerin John Kemble (†… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Kemble family — Kemble is the name of a family of English actors, of whom the most famous were Sarah Siddons (1755 1831) and her brother John Philip Kemble (1757 1823), the two eldest of the twelve children of Roger Kemble (1721 1802), a strolling player and… …   Wikipedia

  • John Kemble — may refer to:*John Kemble (martyr) Roman Catholic martyr *John Philip Kemble English actor and manager …   Wikipedia

  • Kemble — (spr. kemmbl), 1) John Philip, engl. Schauspieler, geb. 1. Febr. 1757 zu Preston in Lancashire als Sohn des Schauspielers Roger K. (gest. 1802), gest. 26. Febr. 1823 in Lausanne, betrat 1776 die Bühne in Wolverhampton und spielte dann mit immer… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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