14 Facts About William Macready


William Charles Macready was an English stage actor.


William Macready was born in London the son of William Macready the elder, and actress Christina Ann Birch.


On 16 September 1816, Macready made his first London appearance at Covent Garden as Orestes in The Distressed Mother, a translation of Racine's Andromaque by Ambrose Philips.


William Macready showed his capacity for the highest tragedy when he played Richard III at Covent Garden on 25 October 1819.


William Macready was responsible, in 1834, and more fully in 1838, for returning the text of King Lear to Shakespeare's text, after it had been replaced for more than a hundred and fifty years by Nahum Tate's happy-ending adaptation, The History of King Lear.


William Macready performed at the Georgian Wisbech theatre and other theatres of the Lincoln theatre circuit run by Fanny Robertson.


Already, William Macready had done something to encourage the creation of a modern English drama, and after entering on the management of Covent Garden in 1837 he introduced Robert Browning's Strafford, and in the following year Bulwer-Lytton's Lady of Lyons and Richelieu, the principal characters in which were among his most effective parts.


The first production of Bulwer-Lytton's Money took place under the artistic direction of Count d'Orsay on 8 December 1840, William Macready winning unmistakable success in the character of Alfred Evelyn.


William Macready took leave of the stage in a farewell performance of Macbeth at Drury Lane on 26 February 1851.


William Macready married twice, firstly in 1823 to Catherine Frances Atkins.


In 1860, aged 67, he married the 23 year old Cecile Louise Frederica Spencer, by whom he had a son, Cecil Frederick Nevil William Macready, known as "Nevil", who would become a General in the British Army, and a baronet.


William Macready's daughter, Catherine Frances Macready, was a minor Victorian poet.


William Macready belonged to the school of Kean rather than of Kemble; but, if his tastes were better disciplined and in some respects more refined than those of Kean, his natural temperament did not permit him to give proper effect to the great tragic parts of Shakespeare, King Lear perhaps excepted, which afforded scope for his pathos and tenderness, the qualities in which he specially excelled.


When William Macready retired, Alfred Tennyson dedicated the following verse to him:.