Playwright. One of the last important figures from the Golden Age of Elizabethan Theatre. His plays are noted for their tightly-woven plots and fast pace. Massinger is best-known for the comedy "A New Way to Pay Old Debts" (1627), whose main character, the avaricious Sir Giles Overreach, was long a favorite role among actors. "Believe as You List" (1631, now lost) got the playwright into trouble with London authorities because it speculated what would happen if England and Spain, bitter enemies, declared peace. His other plays include "The Duke of Milan" (1620), "The Maid of Honor" (1621), "The Roman Actor" (1626), and "The City Madam" (1632). Massinger was baptized in Salisbury on November 24, 1583. He studied at Oxford from 1602 to 1606 but left without a degree. In 1613 he began writing for the London stage as a way of repaying a loan from producer Philip Henslowe, who had bailed him out of debtors' prison. Massinger may have shared in the writing of William Shakespeare's last play, "Henry VIII" (1613), and he collaborated with Thomas Middleton, William Rowley, Thomas Dekker, and especially John Fletcher, who became a close friend. In 1625 he succeeded Fletcher as principal dramatist for The King's Men, Shakespeare's old company. He was reputedly buried, at his own request, in Fletcher's crypt at Southwark Cathedral, though he has his own stone in the floor of the nave. In all Massinger wrote or had a hand in over 50 plays, though many no longer survive. Some of his lost manuscripts were reputedly destroyed in the 18th Century, when a cook in the household of Bishop John Warburton used them to line pie dishes.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards