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Born 1888 in Molíns de Rey, near Barcelona; died there in 1969. Spanish actress.
Xirgu studied at the Catalonian School of Dramatic Art in Barcelona. She made her professional stage debut in 1906 and then performed in the largest theaters of Barcelona and Madrid. She toured Cuba and Mexico in 1936. After Franco came into power (1939), Xirgu refused to return to Spain and worked in Argentina and Uruguay.
Xirgu played comedy, genre, and tragedy roles with great mastery in the plays of J. Echegaray, B. Pérez Galdós, R. Valle-Inclán, M. Unamuno, and A. Casona. The plays of García Lorca gave Xirgu her greatest artistic opportunities—for example, the title roles in Mariana Pineda, The Prodigious Shoemaker, and Yerma. She also headed her own troupes, producing classical dramas and staging the plays of modern playwrights with democratic tendencies. [13-1563-3; updated]