Pack, George (DNB00)

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PACK, GEORGE (fl. 1700–1724), actor, first came on the stage as a singer, and, being ‘as they say a “smock-fac'd youth,” used to sing the female parts in dialogues with that great master, Mr. Leveridge, who has for many years charm'd with his manly voice’ (Chetwood, p. 208). In the latter part of 1699 or the beginning of 1700 Betterton revived at Lincoln's Inn Fields the ‘First Part of King Henry IV,’ revised by himself. In this Pack is first heard of as Westmoreland. In 1702 he was the original Stratocles in Rowe's ‘Tamerlane;’ Ogle, a fortune-hunter, in Mrs. Carroll's (Centlivre) ‘Beau's Duel,’ 21 Oct., where he also sang ‘a whimsical song;’ and Francisco in the ‘Stolen Heiress,’ 31 Dec.; and played, says Genest, other small parts in tragedy. On 28 April 1703 he was the original Jack Single in ‘As you find it,’ by the Hon. C. Boyle; on 2 Feb. 1704 the first Fetch in Farquhar's ‘Stage Coach;’ and, 25 March, Sir Nicholas Empty in Crauford's ‘Love at First Sight.’ On 4 Dec. 1704 he was the original Pinch (the biter) in Rowe's comedy, ‘The Biter;’ on 22 Feb. 1705 Hector in the ‘Gamester,’ an adaptation by Mrs. Carroll of ‘Le Joueur’ of Regnard, and played for his benefit in ‘Love Betrayed, or the Agreeable Disappointment.’ At the new house erected for the company by Sir John Vanbrugh in the Haymarket he was, 30 Oct. 1705, the original Brass in Vanbrugh's ‘Confederacy,’ and on 27 Dec. Lopez in ‘Mistake,’ Vanbrugh's adaptation of ‘Le Dépit Amoureux,’ and on 23 Aug. 1706 Jo in ‘Adventures in Madrid’ by Mrs. Pix. In the following season, 1706–7, he played Kite in the ‘Recruiting Officer,’ Sosia in ‘Amphitryon,’ Foppington in the ‘City Heiress,’ Rabby Busy in ‘Bartholomew Fair,’ and other parts, and was the original Robin in Mrs. Carroll's ‘Platonick Lady.’ On 1 Nov. 1707 he was the original Saunter in Cibber's ‘Double Gallant.’ His first recorded appearance at Drury Lane was on 6 Feb. 1708 as Sir Mannerly Shallow in Crowne's ‘Country Wit.’ Here, or with the Drury Lane company at the Haymarket, he played many parts, including Tattle in ‘Love for Love,’ Tribulation in the ‘Alchemist,’ Leucippe in the ‘Humorous Lieutenant,’ Abel in the ‘Committee,’ Roderigo in ‘Othello,’ Beau in ‘Æsop,’ Brush in ‘Love and a Bottle,’ Puny in the ‘Cutter of Coleman Street,’ and several original characters, the most important of which were Marplot in Mrs. Centlivre's ‘Busy-Body’ and in ‘Marplot, or the second part of the Busy-Body,’ and Captain Mizen in Charles Shadwell's ‘Fair Quaker of Deal.’ He was also, on 27 April 1714, the original Lissardo in Mrs. Centlivre's ‘Wonder.’ With Rich at the rebuilt theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields, he was on 16 Feb. 1715 Sir Anthony Thinwit in Molloy's ‘Perplexed Couple, or Mistake upon Mistake,’ borrowed from ‘Le Cocu Imaginaire.’ On 3 Feb. 1718 he was the original Obadiah Prim in ‘A Bold Stroke for a Wife,’ and on 19 April Madame Fillette in Molloy's ‘Coquet, or the English Chevalier.’ In Leigh's ‘Pretenders,’ 20 Nov. 1719, he was the original Sir Vanity Halfwit. On 19 Jan. 1721 he was the first Teartext, a sham parson in Odell's ‘Chimera.’ This appears to have been his last original part. On 10 March 1722, for the benefit of Mrs. Bullock, he played Marplot, the bill announcing it as ‘being the first time of his acting this season, and the last time he will act on any stage.’ He reappeared, however, on 21 April 1724 at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and for Mrs. Knight's benefit played Daniel in ‘Oroonoko.’ On 7 May 1724 he had a benefit, on which occasion the ‘Drummer’ and the ‘Country Wake’ were given. In the latter piece he played Friendly. This is his last recorded appearance.

After his retirement from the stage Pack took a public-house at the corner of the Haymarket and Pall Mall, which he called the ‘Busy Body,’ placing over it his own full-length portrait as Marplot. This, which is said to have been highly executed, has perished, and no engraving of it can be traced. The period of his death has been asked in vain. He was certainly dead in 1749. Chetwood says the name of the tavern which Pack took was the Globe. His best parts were Marplot, Maiden in ‘Tunbridge Walks,’ and Mizen in the ‘Fair Quaker of Deal.’ ‘Indeed,’ says Chetwood, ‘nature seem'd to mean him for those sort of characters.’ Pack went once to Dublin, and experienced a storm at sea, by which he was so frightened that to shorten the voyage he returned by the north of Ireland and Scotland. So lasting were the effects of this terror that he chose to go a long way round sooner than cross the river by a boat. Being asked by a nobleman to go to France for a month, he said, ‘Yes, if your Grace will get a bridge built from Dover to Calais, for Gads curse me if ever I set my foot over salt water again!’ He was, says Chetwood, unmarried, and left no relatives behind him.

[Such particulars as survive concerning Pack are given in Chetwood's General History of the Stage, 1749. A list of the characters he played longer than is here supplied appears in Genest's Account of the English Stage. The particulars concerning his tavern sign are supplied in Notes and Queries, 5th ser. vii. 180, in an editorial communication, presumably from Doran; Cibber's Apology, ed. Lowe, and Doran's Annals of the Stage, ed. Lowe, have also been consulted.]

J. K.