Henry Irving

(redirected from Sir Henry Irving)
Sir Henry Irving
John Brodribb (middle name Henry added at his christening)
Birthday
BirthplaceKeinton Mandeville, Somerset, England
Died
Occupation
Actor

Irving, Henry

 

(pseudonym of John Henry Brodribb). Born Feb. 6, 1838, in Keinton; died Oct. 13, 1905, in London. British actor, director, and man of the theater.

Irving was the son of a tradesman. He began his acting career in 1856 in the provinces and then performed at theaters in Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, and other cities, playing a variety of roles that ranged from high tragedy to pantomime and burlesque. His telling use of facial expression and gesture, the accuracy of his external portrayal, and his theatrical temperament and charm lent Irving’s acting a character all its own. From 1866 he lived in London and appeared in melodramas. In 1867 he played Petruchio in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, with Ellen Terry playing the part of Katherina. The collaboration of these two actors lasted until 1898 and marked an epoch in British theater of the late 19th century. The role of Hamlet, which he played more than 200 times, propelled him into the ranks of Britain’s finest actors. Irving played other Shakespearean roles, including Macbeth, Othello, and Richard III.

From 1878 to 1898, Irving and Terry jointly managed the Lyceum Theatre. Irving revived the plays of Shakespeare on the British stage. His productions were outstanding for their striking scenic effect and historical authenticity. However, his treatment of Shakespeare’s tragedies was in the vein of sentimentalism, and he strove to highlight a single character trait in the heroes. Irving also made appearances as elocutionist and lecturer and wrote articles on the craft of the actor, championing the actor’s rights and social status. He edited the stage texts of Shakespearean plays, which were then published. He toured frequently in the United States, influencing the development of the American theater. Irving was the first British actor to be knighted (1895).

REFERENCES

Terry, E. Istoriia moei zhizni. Leningrad-Moscow, 1963. (Translated from English.)
Stoker, B. The Personal Reminiscences of H. Irving, vols. 1–2. London, 1906.
Irving, L. H. Irving: The Actor and His World. London [1951].

N. V. MINTS

References in periodicals archive ?
A Sir Richard Irving B Sir Henry Irving C Sir Roger Irving D Sir Thomas Irving 10.
1838: Sir Henry Irving, English actor, was born in Somerset.
1838: English actor Sir Henry Irving was born in Somerset.
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The baton once passed from Sir Henry Irving to Laurence Olivier to Albert Finney dropped and now all we have is Benedict Cumberbatch, a man, Berkoff rails, more worthy of HELLO
Although best known today for his landmark 1897 novel, Stoker was personal assistant to Sir Henry Irving - one of the most famous actors of his generation - and business manager of London's Lyceum Theatre, which Irving owned.
She played opposite Sir Henry Irving at the Lyceum Theatre for over 20 years and was famed for her portrayal of Shakespearean heroines.
She was being employed in Shakespearian and other dramatic roles by the great impresario Sir Henry Irving, and had been only the second actress in the role of Peter Pan in the play written by her fellow Scot, JM Barrie.
In that particular context I can note that when Oscar Wilde heard Sir Henry Irving had been knighted, he remarked acidly to a friend: "My God, actors weren't buried in consecrated ground until the 1830s.