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William Shakespeare Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, Kingdom of England [now England, UK]
Died in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, Kingdom of England [now England, UK]
Nickname The Bard

Mini Bio (1)

William Shakespeare's birthdate is assumed from his baptism on April 25. His father John was the son of a farmer who became a successful tradesman; his mother Mary Arden was gentry. He studied Latin works at Stratford Grammar School, leaving at about age 15. About this time his father suffered an unknown financial setback, though the family home remained in his possession. An affair with Anne Hathaway, eight years his senior and a nearby farmer's daughter, led to pregnancy and a hasty marriage late in 1582. Susanna was born in May of 1583, twins Hamnet and Judith in January of 1585. By 1592 he was an established actor and playwright in London though his "career path" afterward (fugitive? butcher? soldier? actor?) is highly debated. When plague closed the London theatres for two years he apparently toured; he also wrote two long poems, "Venus and Adonis" and "The Rape of Lucrece". He may have spent this time at the estate of the Earl of Southampton. By December 1594 he was back in London as a member of the Lord Chamberlain's Men, the company he stayed with the rest of his life. In 1596 he seems to have purchased a coat of arms for his father; the same year Hamnet died at age 11. The following year he purchased the grand Stratford mansion New Place. A 1598 edition of "Love's Labors" was the first to bear his name, though he was already recognized as England's greatest playwright. He is believed to have written his "Sonnets" during the 1590s. In 1599 he became a partner in the new Globe Theatre, the company of which joined the royal household on the accession of James in 1603. That is the last year in which he appeared in a cast list. He seems to have retired to Stratford in 1612, where he continued to be active in real estate investment. The cause of his death is unknown.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Spouse (1)

Anne Hathaway (27 November 1582 - 23 April 1616) (his death) (3 children)

Trivia (31)

In 1994, Charles Hamilton, a noted handwriting authority, published his edition of Shakespeare and John Fletcher's long-lost play, "Cardenio", which he believed had been masquerading as "The Second Maiden's Tragedy", an unattributed play of the time, apparently the sequel to a Fletcher collaboration with Francis Beaumont. Because the names had been altered, Hamilton's identification of the play with Cardenio has been controversial, but has not been refuted. Hamilton believed it to be in the same hand as Shakespeare's will, which he determined to match known examples of Shakespeare's handwriting, rather than having been written by a scribe. Hamilton died in 1996.
William Beeston, son of Shakespeare's friend actor Charles Beeston, described him as "a handsome, well-shap't man."
Family records 1564-1616 show 44 surname spellings.
In 1964, was the first person other than royalty to be portrayed on a British stamp.
In Manor Park, East London, there are streets that are named after him and his wife, Anne Hathaway: Shakespeare Crescent and Hathaway Crescent.
Pictured on a 5¢ US postage stamp issued to commemorate the 400th anniversary of his birth, 14 August 1964.
There are no living decendants from him. His family line ended in 1670 with the death of his granddaughter Elizabeth Hall Nash Barnard, who bore no children.
Two daughters and one son with Anne Hathaway: Susanna, Judith and Hamnet (twins).
"A great poet, a considerable philosopher, but, by modern standards, quite a poor playwright" - as described by Tom Conti in The Times of London, 26 February, 2003.
A number of his works have been adapted for other cultures. There exists a Zulu version of "Macbeth", and a Japanese Kabuki version of "Hamlet".
He is listed in the Guinness Book of World records as having the most number of screen adaptations by a single author. The record for adaptations by a living author goes to Stephen King.
It is speculated by some that Shakespeare was inspired to write "Hamlet" after the untimely death of his own son, Hamnet.
The date of Shakespeare's death is April 23, 1616, only because Britain had not yet revised the calendar in accordance with the rest of Europe, which meant that the British calendar was ten days behind. If the calendar had been revised at that time, the date of his death would be May 3, 1616 (unlike Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra, Shakespeare's contemporary, who actually did pass away on April 23, 1616).
Shakespeare stood as godfather to the future Poet Laureate of England, William D'Avenant (1606-1668), and D'Avenant would later claim that that Shakespeare was his father in more than just God.
Invented many names that were popularized by his plays and entered common use. These names include: Miranda, Jessica, Ophelia, Audrey and Viola.
His comedic play, "Twelfth Night" performed at the Donmar Warehouse, was awarded the 2003 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Revival of 2002.
His play "Macbeth" is considered by many professional actors to be cursed. Productions are often plagued by bad luck. The most superstitious of actors believe that the mere mention of the play's name is enough to cause disaster. To avoid this, they refuse to mention the play by name, calling it "The Scottish Play" instead.
Laurence Olivier called his writings "the nearest thing in incarnation to the eye of God."
In 1964, the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's birth, there were at least four notable productions of "Hamlet" alone - the Richard Burton Broadway production, the Christopher Plummer made-for-TV film, the celebrated Russian-language film version (seldom seen in the U.S.), and Joseph Papp's Shakespeare Festival production, which was taped for TV.
Was the subject of a comic routine by Richard Buckley (aka Lord Buckley), where he was referred to as "Willie the Shake".
His father was a maker of gloves.
Portrayed by Reginald Gardiner in The Story of Mankind (1957).
"The Comedy of Errors" - only one of Shakespeare's many plays in which he mentions "America" (Act III/Scene 2).
Shakespeare willed his "second-best bed" to his wife, Anne Hathaway. Many scholars took that to be an insult, but this interpretation is incorrect. In 17th-century England, a home's best bed was reserved for guests; a husband and wife slept in the second-best one. Shakespeare's gesture was a sentimental reminder of the love he bore his wife.
His play Romeo & Juliet borrows many plot elements from the story of Pyramus and Thisbe. Both are the children of feuding families. Pyramus, like Romeo, is led to believe that she has died, and stabs himself to be with her. Thisbe then follows suit. Romeo & Juliet was later a partial inspiration for the play Cyrano de Bergerac. Both begin with a duel, and feature an iconic balcony scene. When Cyrano insults his own nose, he ends with "And finally, parodying Pyramus's cries, 'Behold the nose that destroyed the beauty of it's master features. It reddens with shame, the traitor!'".
The first patron of Shakespeare's company, The Lord Chamberlain's Men, was Henry Carey, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII.
The most successful American revival of one of his plays was Othello, which started in 1943 and ran for 296 performances until 1946. It starred Paul Robeson as Othello, José Ferrer as Iago, and Uta Hagen as Desdemona.
Inspired the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
His play, "The Tempest," at the Mark Taper Forum Theatre in Los Angeles, California was awarded the 1979 Drama-Logue Award for Outstanding Production.
His play, "The Tempest" at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in Chicago, Illinois was awarded the 2016 Joseph Jefferson (Equity) Award for Large Play Production.
Several pop songs reference him and his work, including "Romeo and Juliet" by Dire Straits, "Shakespeare's Sister" by The Smiths and "Shakespeare in Love" by Layla Kaylif. The British progressive rock band Twelfth Night named themselves after his famous play.

Personal Quotes (1)

We owe God a death.

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