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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



English theatrical family of the 18th and 19th centuries. The family was established by Roger Kemble. Of his 12 children (almost all of whom were actors), the most prominent were the following.

Sarah SiddonsBorn 1755; died 1831. (SeeSIDDONS, SARAH.)

John Philip KembleBorn Feb. 1, 1757, in Prescott, Lancashire; died Feb. 26, 1823, in Lausanne. Actor and playwright (the tragedy Belisarius and the farce The Female Officer, for example).

J. P. Kemble performed in London in the Drury Lane and Covent Garden theaters (he managed both theaters at one time) and directed a theater in Dublin. An actor of the classicist school, he had great technical skills and was a master of monologue. Among the roles he played were the title roles in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Othello (the first he performed in the court dress of his time, the second in an English general’s uniform), Marlow in O. Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer, and Brutus in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar.

Charles KembleBorn Nov. 25, 1775, in Brecon; died Nov. 12, 1854, in London. Actor.

C. Kemble performed in English provincial theaters, as well as the Drury Lane and Covent Garden theaters in London, and toured Belgium, France, Germany, and the USA. He was particularly successful in the roles of Romeo and Mercutio in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. His other roles included Orlando in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Charles in Sheridan’s School for Scandal, and Shylock in Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice. C. Kemble also revised and wrote plays (Point of Honor). In 1840, having left the stage, he delivered lectures on Shakespeare.


Baker, H. J. P. Kemble. Cambridge (Mass.), 1942.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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