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David Garrick (Hereford, February 19, 1717 – London, January 20, 1779) was a British actor and dramatist. It is considered one of the main figures of English theater of the eighteenth century.
Garrick began studying law and literature with Samuel Johnson before deciding to try his luck in London in 1737. He turned to the theater and made his debut in 1741 in William Shakespeare’s Richard III, which was his most resounding success. He was a great friend of Denis Diderot and other men of letters of his time and specialized in playing characters of Shakespeare, to whose recovery he devoted most of his activity. He worked initially in the Covent Garden Theater built in 1731 and became director of the theater of Drury Lane in 1747, a position he held until 1776 with James Lary and which alternated with his interpretations of comedies, tragedies and farces of the British theatrical repertoire. As a reformer of the English theater, he forbade the presence of audiences on stage, replaced the interpretative bombast with naturalness, and introduced into the Drury Lane a new lighting system by intensifying the light of frames by means of recessed reflectors.
He is also the author of some forty plays, including his mythological farce Lethe. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
It was characterized in the 1937 film The Great Garrick by director James Whale and starring Brian Aherne. The poem “Reír Llorando” by the Mexican writer Juan de Dios Peza is inspired by him.
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