1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Baron, Michel

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

BARON, Michel (1653-1729), French actor (whose family name originally was Boyron), was born in Paris, the son of a leading actor (d. 1655) and of a talented actress (d. 1662). At the age of twelve he joined the company of children known as the Petits Comédiens Dauphins, of which he was the brightest star. Molière was delighted with his talent, and with the king's permission secured him for his own company. In consequence of a misunderstanding with Molière's wife, the actor withdrew from the dramatist's company, but rejoined in 1670, reappearing as Domitien in Corneille's Tite et Bérénice, and in his Psyche. He remained in this company until Molière's death. He then became a member of the company at the Hôtel de Bourgogne, and from this time until his retirement in 1691 was undisputed master of the French stage, creating many of the leading rôles in Racine's tragedies, besides those in two of his own comedies, L'Homme à bonnes fortunes (1686), and La Coquette (1687). He also wrote Les Enlèvements (1685), Le Débauché (1689), and translated and acted two plays of Terence. In 1720 Baron reappeared at the Palais Royal, and his activity on the stage was renewed in a multitude of parts. He died on the 22nd of December 1729.

His son Étienne Michel Baron (1676-1711) was also a fine actor, and left a son and two daughters who also played at the Comédie Française.

See George Monval, Un Comédien amateur d'art (1893); also the Abbé d'Allanial's Lettres a mylord XXX. sur Baron et la demoiselle Lecouvreur, in F.G.J.S Andrieux's Collection des mémoirer sur l'art dramatique (1822).