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 Anne Bracegirdle

Anne Bracegirdle

Birth
England
Death 12 Sep 1748 (aged 84–85)
London, City of London, Greater London, England
Burial Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England
Plot The Cloister
Memorial ID 10246 · View Source
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Actress. Born in the years between 1663 and 1671, records indicate that she was baptized in Northampton on November 15, 1671. She was reportedly raised under the care of the actor Thomas Betterton, who ran a company of players at the Cockpit in Drury Lane. Tradition has it that she made her stage debut in ‘The Orphan' at its first performance at Dorset Garden in 1680. Her name first appeared in the Lord Chamberlain's accounts in 1688 as a member of the United Company of players appearing in ‘Squire of Alsatia' at the Theatre Royal. She then appeared in such productions as Aphra Behn's ‘The Widow Ranter' in 1689, Shakespeare's ‘Richard III' the following year in which she played Lady Anne, and in ‘Othello' in which she played Desdemona. In 1693, she made her first appearance in a comedy by William Congreve as Araminta in ‘The Old Bachelor.' She made her reputation with his plays appearing as well in his ‘Love for Love', and ‘Mourning Bride' and with whom she shared a deep friendship which some theorists speculate resulted in a secret marriage though no real proof for such exists. She was also a favorite of actor Colly Cibber who called her the darling of the theater. She enjoyed a reputation for a virtuous character which was almost unprecedented in an actress of the period. Lords Dorset, Devonshire, and Halifax were said to have presented her with eight hundred pounds as a mark of their esteem for her character. In 1695, the United Company of players dissolved under actor vs. management conflicts. One contingent led by Betterton and Bracegirdle formed their own company. Congreve continued to tailor roles to Bracegirdle's talents culminating in the role of Millamant in ‘The Way of the World' which was produced in 1700. In 1705 she opened in the Haymarket Theatre where she found a serious competitor in Anne Oldfield. When audiences apparently voiced a preference for the younger actress, Bracegirdle retired gracefully, returning to the stage only once for a single performance of ‘Love for Love' reportedly for Thomas Betterton's benefit. At her death, she was interred in the cloisters at Westminster Abbey.

Bio by: Iola


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 3 Jul 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 10246
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Anne Bracegirdle (c.1663–12 Sep 1748), Find A Grave Memorial no. 10246, citing Westminster Abbey, Westminster, City of Westminster, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave .