1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baddeley, Robert

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

BADDELEY, ROBERT (c. 1732-1794), English actor, is said to have been first a cook to Samuel Foote, “the English Aristophanes,” and then a valet, before he appeared on the stage. In 1761, described as “of Drury Lane theatre,” he was seen at the theatre in Smock Alley, Dublin, as Gomez in Dryden's Spanish Friar. Two years later he was a regular member of the Drury Lane company in London, where he had a great success in the low comedy and servants' parts. He remained at this theatre and the Haymarket until his death. He was the original Moses in the School for Scandal. Baddeley died on the 20th of November 1794. He bequeathed property to found a home for decayed actors, and also £3 per annum to provide wine and cake in the green-room of Drury Lane theatre on Twelfth Night. The ceremony of the Baddeley cake has remained a regular institution.

His wife Sophia Baddeley (1745-1786), an actress and singer, was born in London, the daughter of a sergeant-trumpeter named Snow. She was a woman of great beauty, but excessive vanity and notorious conduct. At the age of eighteen she ran away with Baddeley, then acting at Drury Lane, and she herself made her first appearance on the stage there on the 27th of April 1765, as Ophelia. Later, as a singer, she obtained engagements at Ranelagh and Vauxhall. Though separated from her husband on account of her misconduct, she still played several years in the same company. Her beauty and her extravagance rendered her celebrated, but the money which she made in all sorts of ways was so freely squandered that she was obliged to take refuge from her creditors in Edinburgh, where she made her last appearance on the stage in 1784.

See Memoirs of Mistress Sophia Baddeley, by Mrs Elizabeth Steele, 6 vols. (1781).