David Garrick

David Garrick ( born February 19, 1717 Hereford, England; † January 20, 1779 in London ) was a famous actor of the 18th century, the Age of Enlightenment. He was successful both as a comedian as well as serious roles especially on the London stage. He obtained also as a theater director and author of stage plays a name.


David Garrick was born on February 19, 1717 in Hereford, England, as the grandson of a Huguenot refugee named Garric or Garrique from Bordeaux and the third son of the officer Peter Garrick and Arabella Clough, Irish daughter of a clergyman. He was, after he had worked as the age of eleven short time in the commercial establishment of his uncle in Lisbon, educated at a private school in Lichfield, among others, by Samuel Johnson, went with his teacher Johnson, 1737 London, devoted himself at first to the study of law, was after a while worked as a businessman and opened a wine shop with his brother. But all this did not satisfy him, he still felt really called to the art of acting, which is why he appeared a few years as an amateur actor, alongside his work in the wine store.

Since 1741 he finally was able to indulge his real disposition, because this year he entered first in Ipswich under the name " Lyddel ", then in London in a staged Colley Cibber of Shakespeare performance at the theater in Goodman 's Fields as Richard III. the stage, earning extraordinary acclaim as a mime immediately. After he has a short time in Dublin in 1742, he returned to London and played with overwhelming success to 1745 at the Drury Lane Theatre, then went back to Dublin with Thomas Sheridan ( 1719-1788 ) to the management of the theater in Sinock Ally take over, but already in 1746 followed a call to the Covent Garden Theatre in London and bought in 1747 by James Lacy ( 1696-1774 ), the Drury Lane Theatre. He tried here in particular to revive the taste for Shakespeare's seals.

1749 Garrick married the dancer Eva Maria, born Veigel. She had seen the light of day in Vienna on 29 February 1724 was in 1748 came to London after already celebrated as a dancer, which was also praised for their virtue, successes under the stage name " Violet " in Florence and Vienna.

After Garrick had spent the years 1763-65 in France, Italy and Germany, he was after Lacy's death until 1776 the sole director of the Drury Lane Theatre. Both in 1763 and in 1765 he regularly visited the Coterie holbachique ( " Holbach'sche clique " ), the meeting with whom he had a lifelong personal and on a lively correspondence in the house of Paul Henri Thiry d' Holbach. In 1765 he was visited by d' Holbach in London. 1776, he retired to his country house near London, where he died on January 20, 1779. This country house was end of October 2008 seriously damaged in a fire. Garrick left a fortune of about 140 000. His body was buried in the " Poet's Corner " in Westminster Abbey at the foot of the monument dedicated to Shakespeare. His wife survived him by several decades. She died on 16 October 1822 in London at the age of 97 years.

Garrick had his facial expressions and his organ of speech on the most admirable in his power. He was able to give any desired passion expression so that he was on stage almost the same size in the tragedy as in the comic. He was friends with many great minds of the 18th century, as the author and lexicographer Samuel Johnson, the painter William Hogarth, the writer Oliver Goldsmith and the French Enlightenment Denis Diderot. Garrick was also a member of Johnson's Literary Club. Among his admirers was the German Georg Christoph Lichtenberg. Garrick's face has been handed down through numerous portraits, painted by William Hogarth, Joshua Reynolds, Angelika Kauffmann, Pompeo Batoni, Nathaniel Dance -Holland and Thomas Gainsborough, as well as a bust of Louis -François Roubiliac. 1831 was established in memory of the great mimes the Garrick Club, which consists mainly actors and artists.