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Richard Brinsley Sheridan

(b. Oct. 30, 1751, Dublin, Leinster, Ireland – d. July 7, 1816, Savile Row, Mayfair, London )

Gender: M

Richard Sheridan (1751-1816) was born in Dublin, but his family moved to England when he was aged seven. His mother, Frances Sheridan, was a playwright and novelist, and his father, Thomas Sheridan, was an actor-manager at the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, but following his move to England gave up acting and wrote books on education. In 1772, at the age of twenty-one, he eloped with and married Elizabeth Ann Linley (1754-1792), a singer. In 1775 Sheridan's first play, The Rivals, was produced at the Covent Garden Theatre, and became a great success. Sheridan and his father-in-law Thomas Linley , a successful composer, then produced an opera, The Duenna, which played for seventy-five performances. His most famous play The School for Scandal was produced in 1777, and was followed by The Critic in 1779. Having quickly made his name and fortune, in 1776 Sheridan bought David Garrick’s share in the Drury Lane theatre, and in 1778 became its sole owner. In 1780, Sheridan entered parliament as MP for Stafford, and became a friend and associate of Charles James Fox. He was briefly Under-Secretary for Foreign Affairs in 1782, but resigned with Fox three months later, and became Secretary to the Treasury in the Fox-North coalition government. His frequent speeches in the House of Commons were known for their wit and eloquence. He was an ardent supporter of Edmund Burke in his demand for the impeachment of Warren Hastings, though they parted company as a result of Sheridan’s early support for the French Revolution. Following the death of his wife, in 1795 Sheridan married Hester Jane Ogle (1776–1817), daughter of the Dean of Winchester. He died in poverty and was buried in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey; his funeral was attended by Lord Mayor of London, members of the aristocracy and many other admirers.

Also known as:

  • Richard Brinsley Sheridan


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