Charles Macklin (26 September 1699 – 11 July 1797) was an Irish actor and dramatist who performed extensively at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Macklin revolutionised theatre in the 18th century by introducing a "natural style" of acting. He is also famous for killing a man in a fight over a wig at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Born in County Donegal in Ulster in the north of Ireland, brought up in Dublin, where he attended school in Islandbridge after his father's death and his mother's remarriage, Macklin became known for his many performances in the tragedy and comedy genre of plays. He gained his greatest fame in the role of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Macklin enjoyed a long career which was often steeped in controversy before dying aged 97.
It is thought that Macklin was born near Culdaff, a village in Inishowen in the north of County Donegal in the province of Ulster, Ireland, in 1690, and moved to Great Britain in either 1725 or 1726; the dates in his early life are not entirely clear. According to William Archer in Eminent Actors, "at his death, Macklin was believed to be 97, but his biographers have endeavored to show that he was at least 107. The main lines of controversy are to be found in the 3 biographies of Congreve, Kirkman, and Cook". Thomas Kirkman and William Cooke, in Eminent Actors, assert that "William MacLochlainn, father of Charles Macklin, had a daughter and a son, who were born two months previous to the Battle of Boyne, which took place in 1690". Given this information, this would make Macklin 107 years old at his death. However, in his own words, he was born 'in the last year of the last century', making the year 1699 the year of his birth. In fact, The Monthly Mirror of February 1796, a year before his death, stated that: "Macklin, according to this statement, must be in his hundred and sixth year, or thereabouts, whereas he is in fact no more than ninety-seven". According to William Archer, author of Eminent Actors, there “were no registers of births, deaths, and marriages kept in Ireland in 1690”...
Quotes by Charles Macklin
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