18 Facts About Edmund Kean


Edmund Kean was a celebrated British Shakespearean stage actor born in England, who performed, among other places, in London, Belfast, New York, Quebec, and Paris.


Edmund Kean's father was probably Edmund Kean, an architect's clerk, and his mother was an actress, Anne Carey, daughter of the 18th-century composer and playwright Henry Carey.


Edmund Kean's wife gave birth to two sons, one of whom was actor Charles Kean.


Contemporaries recognized that Edmund Kean had brought dignity and humanity to his portrayal of the character.


In 1817, a local playwright named Charles Bucke submitted his play The Italians, or; The Fatal Accusation to Drury Lane, for which Edmund Kean was to play the lead.


The play was well received by both council and actors until Edmund Kean seemed to have a change of heart and began to make several offhand remarks that his part was not big enough for him.


On 29 November 1820, Edmund Kean appeared for the first time in New York City as Richard III at the Anthony Street Theatre.


Edmund Kean was the first to restore the tragic ending to Shakespeare's King Lear, which had been replaced on stage since 1681 by Nahum Tate's happy ending adaptation The History of King Lear.


Edmund Kean returned to England and was ultimately received with favour, but by now he was so dependent on the use of stimulants that the gradual deterioration of his gifts was inevitable.


Edmund Kean's appearance in Paris was a failure owing to a fit of drunkenness.


Edmund Kean appeared in the title part of Ben Nazir by Thomas Colley Grattan in 1827 as a comeback role at Drury Lane, but the play was not a success.


Edmund Kean turned down Alfred the Great by James Sheridan Knowles, a role that went to William Macready.


Edmund Kean's last appearance on the stage was at Covent Garden on 15 March 1833, when he played Othello to the Iago of his son, Charles Kean, who was an accomplished actor.


Edmund Kean died a few weeks later in Surrey, and is commemorated in the Parish Church where there is a floor plaque marking his grave as well as a wall plaque that was originally on the outside, but was moved inside and heavily restored during restoration work in 1904.


Edmund Kean is buried in the parish church of All Saints, in the village of Catherington, Hampshire.


Edmund Kean was presented with a tame lion with which he might be found playing in his drawing-room.


Edmund Kean: Genius or Scoundrel co-written, directed by and starring Vittorio Gassman, is a 1956 Italian dramatization of the life of Edmund Kean.


The acclaimed latter 20th century British theatre and film actor Peter O'Toole owned a finger-ring that had once belonged to Edmund Kean, and used it as a literary muse for the writing of the second volume of his autobiography Loitering With Intent: The Apprentice.