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Definition: Siddons from Merriam-Webster's Collegiate(R) Dictionary

Sarah Siddons 1755–1831 née Kemble Eng. actress

Summary Article: Siddons, Sarah
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary




English actress

She was born in Brecon, Wales, the eldest child of Roger Kemble, manager of a small travelling theatrical company, of which Sarah was a member from her earliest childhood. In 1773 she married her fellow actor, William Siddons. Her first appearance at Drury Lane in 1775, as Portia, was unremarkable, but her reputation grew so fast in the provinces that in 1782 she returned to Drury Lane, and made her appearance as Isabella in David Garrick's adaptation of Thomas Southerne's Fatal Marriage. Her success was immediate, and she soon became the unquestioned queen of the English stage. In 1803 she followed her brother John Philip Kemble to Covent Garden, where she stayed until her farewell appearance as Lady Macbeth in 1812. Thereafter she appeared occasionally, and sometimes gave public readings. Her gifts and her expressive and beautiful face, queenly figure, and rich, flexible voice gave her great distinction as a tragic actress. In comedy, however, she was less successful.

  • Mackenzie, Kathleen, The Great Sarah: The Life of Mrs Siddons (1968).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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