John Henderson - Encyclopedia

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JOHN HENDERSON (1747-1785), English actor, of Scottish descent, was born in London. He made his first appearance on the stage at Bath on the 6th of October 1772 as Hamlet. His success in this and other Shakespearian parts led to his being called the "Bath Roscius." He had great difficulty in getting a London engagement, but finally appeared at the Haymarket in 1777 as Shylock, and his success was a source of considerable profit to Colman, the manager. Sheridan then engaged him to play at Drury Lane, where he remained for two years. When the companies joined forces he went to Covent Garden, appearing as Richard III. in 1778, and creating original parts in many of the plays of Cumberland, Shirley, Jephson and others. His last appearance was in 1785 as Horatius in The Roman Father, and he died on the 25th of November of that year and was buried in Westminster Abbey. Garrick was very jealous of Henderson, and the latter's power of mimicry separated him also from Colman, but he was always gratefully remembered by Mrs. Siddons and others of his profession whom he had encouraged. He was a close friend of Gainsborough, who painted his portrait, as did also Stewart and Romney. He was co-author of Sheridan and Henderson's Practical Method of Reading and Writing English Poetry.

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