David Garrick

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Portrait of David Garrick
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Portrait of David Garrick

David Garrick (February 19, 1717January 20, 1779) was an English actor, dramatist and theatrical producer and manager, and a pupil and friend of Samuel Johnson.

David Garrick was born in Hereford, England and educated, like Johnson, at Lichfield. Johnson later taught him the classics, and in 1737 he travelled to London to seek his fortune. Having failed to succeed in a legal career, he decided on the stage, and by 1741 he was the talk of the theatrical scene for his performance in William Shakespeare's Richard III. He went on to manage Drury Lane Theatre, and enjoyed a thirty-year career at the top of the tree, one of the most influential and popular figures in the whole of British theatre history.

Garrick tried to portray his characters as real people, rather than as melodramatic caricatures. He did this by telling his actors to not be too pompous and to act as they would in everyday life.

David Garrick died in London, England and was interred in the "Poet's Corner" at Westminster Abbey. A monument to him in Lichfield Cathedral bears Johnson's famous comment, "I am disappointed by that stroke of death that has eclipsed the gaiety of nations, and impoverished the public stock of harmless pleasure."

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