Playwright, Poet, Actor. He achieved distinction as a dramatist during the Elizabethan era. His plays "The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington" (1597) and "The Death of Robert Earl of Huntington" (1598) are among the earliest dramatizations of the Robin Hood legend. "Sir Thomas More" (1599), apart from its continued stageworthiness, is of interest to scholars because it may have been revised by William Shakespeare. Munday was born in London, the son of a draper. In 1578 he traveled to Italy, an experience he recounted in the prose work "English Roman Life" (1582). During the early 1580s he was an actor in the Earl of Oxford's company and was employed for a time as the Earl's secretary. He published several anti-Catholic pamphlets and in his post as Messenger to Her Majesty's Chamber (from 1586) he likely served as a spy for the Privy Council. Most of Munday's activities as a playwright date from the years 1595 to 1602 and he usually worked in collaboration, notably with Henry Chettle. His other extant dramas are "John a Kent and John a Cumber" (1595) and "The Life of Sir John Oldcastle" (1600). Francis Meres, an important observer of London's early theatre scene, praised Munday as "our best plotter", while Ben Jonson ridiculed him as the character Antonio Balladino in "The Case Is Altered" (c.1597), in reference to his poetry. From 1605 to 1616 he was the chief writer of London's annual City Pageants. Munday was buried at the Church of St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, which was destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards