Packer, John Hayman (DNB00)

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PACKER, JOHN HAYMAN (1730–1806), actor, born in 1730, was originally a saddler, and followed that occupation in Swallow Street, London. He joined Drury Lane under Garrick, and is found playing Agrippa in Capell's arrangement of ‘Antony and Cleopatra’ on 3 Jan. 1759. He was on 21 May the original Briton, jun., in Mozeen's ‘Heiress, or Antigallican.’ Green in ‘Arden of Feversham’ followed, and on 31 Oct. 1759 he was the original Freeman in ‘High Life below Stairs.’ He was assigned at the outset second and third rate parts, and seldom got beyond them. In his later years he all but lapsed into utility parts. No list of characters has been given, and no part seems to have been specially associated with his name. In addition to the characters named, he was, in Reed's ‘Register Office,’ the original Gulwell, the rascally keeper of the office, on 25 April 1761. He also played the following parts, some of them original: Pisanio in ‘Cymbeline,’ Freeman in the ‘Musical Lady,’ Aimwell in the ‘Beaux' Stratagem,’ Eglamour in ‘Two Gentlemen of Verona,’ Don Rodrigo in Mallet's ‘Elvira,’ Sensible in Havard's ‘Elopement,’ Orsino in ‘Twelfth Night,’ Wellford in Mrs. Sheridan's ‘Dupe,’ Don Philip or Octavio in ‘She would and she would not,’ Woodvil in Murphy's ‘Choice,’ Dorilant in an abridgment of Wycherley's ‘Country Wife,’ the Earl of Suffolk in Dr. Franklin's ‘Earl of Warwick,’ Patent, a manager, in Garrick's ‘Peep behind the Curtain, or the New Rehearsal,’ Zopiron in Murphy's ‘Zenobia,’ and very many others. His line in his later life was, as a rule, old men in tragedy and sentimental comedy. He remained at Drury Lane until 1805, when he retired, incapacitated by old age, and died on 15 Oct. 1806. His private life is said to have been exemplary. He was buried in St. Paul's, Covent Garden. A portrait in the Mathews collection in the Garrick Club is ascribed to Romney.

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Gilliland's Dramatic Mirror; Thespian Dictionary; Catalogue of Mr. Mathews's Gallery of Theatrical Portraits, 4to, 1833; Gent. Mag. 1806, pt. ii. p. 1894.]

J. K.