Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Garrick, David, generally acknowledged as the greatest actor that the English stage has seen, was born at Hereford on the 20th of February, 1717.

He received a good education, studying for some little time under Dr. Johnson at Edial, near Lichfield, and with his teacher set out to seek his fortune in London in 1737. Legal studies did not prove attractive, and a year later he joined his elder brother Peter in a wine merchant's business, which partnership, not proving profitable, came to an end in 1740. At last he found his vocation, appearing on the stage in Southerne's Oronooko in 1741 at Ipswich, and on October 19th of the same year as Richard III. at the theatre in Goodman's Fields, London. At the latter place his success was phenomenal, and drew down the displeasure of the managers of the two Patent Houses, who succeeded in stopping the performances. Garrick finally settled down at Drury Lane, of which theatre he became joint patentee in 1747, and retained the management till he retired from the stage on June 10th, 1776. When Garrick appeared on the scene, the stage was eaten up with formality and custom, stately declamation and stereotyped attitude and gesture were the actor's stock-in-trade; but against all this he daringly revolted, and soon the artificial gave place to a more natural method of acting. In every class of piece Garrick was eminent, being successful in the highest tragedy and the lowest comedy. His variety was infinite. As a dramatic author he was more voluminous than meritorious, but many of his shorter verse productions are bright and clever. He was frequently accused of pettiness and meanness, and probably his character weis not altogether estimable; but his invariable success doubtless irritated many who considered themselves injured by his triumphs. He died on the 20th of January, 1779. He married in 1749 Madame Violette, a famous dancer, who survived him till 1822.