Pritchard, John Langford (DNB00)

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PRITCHARD, JOHN LANGFORD (1799–1850), actor, the son of a captain in the navy, was born, it is said, at sea, in 1799, and, adopting his father's profession, became a midshipman. After some practice as an amateur he joined a small company in Wales, and on 24 May 1820, as 'Pritchard from Cheltenham,' made his first appearance in Bath, playing Captain Absolute in the 'Rivals.' In August he played under Bunn, at the New Theatre, Birmingham, Lord Trinket, Sir Benjamin Backbite, and other parts, reappearing in Bath on 30 Oct. as Irwin in Mrs. Inchbald's 'Every one has his Fault.' On 23 May 1821 he played Dumain (First Lord) in 'All's well that ends well.' In the summer of 1821 he joined the York circuit under Mansell, making his first appearance as Romeo. Parts such as Jaffrer, Pythias, Iago, Edmund in 'Lear,' Richmond, Jeremy Diddler, and Duke of Mirandola, were assigned him. He then joined Murray's company in Edinburgh, appering on 16 Jan. 1823 as Durimel in Charles Kymble's adaptation 'Point of Honour.' Here, playing leading business, he remained eleven years. On 6 Feb. he was the original Nigel in 'George Heriot,' an anonymous adaptation of the 'Fortunes of Nigel.' On 22 May 1824 he was Edward Waverley in a new version of 'Waverley,' and on 5 June Francies Tyrrell in Planché's 'St. Ronan's Well.' On 21 Jan. 1825 he played Rob Roy, a difficult feat in Edinburgh for an Englishman. He played on 23 May the Stranger in the 'Rose of Ettrick Vale,' on the 28th Redgauntlet. Soon afterwards he was Richard I in the 'Talisman,' and on 4 July George Douglas in 'Mary Stuart' (the Abbot); Harry Stanley in 'Paul Pry' followed. On 18 June 1826 he was Oliver Cromwell in 'Woodstock, or the Cavalier.' 'Charles Edward, or the last of the Stuarts,' adapted from the French by a son of Flora Macdonald, was given for the first time on 21 April 1829, with Pritchard as Charles Edward. In 1830-1 Pritchard went with Murray to the Adelphi Theatre (Edinburgh), where he appeared on 6 July 1831 as Abdar Khan in 'Mazeppa.' In the 'Renegade' by Maturin, Pritchard was Guiscard, and on 16 April 1832, in a week at Holyrood, was the first Wemyss of Logie. He was also seen as Joseph Surface. Pritchard appeared a few times at the Adelphi in the summer season, and then quitted Edinburgh. During his stay, he won very favourable recognition, artistic and social, and took a prominent part in establishing the Edinburgh Shakespeare Club, at the first anniversary dinner of which Scott owned himself the author of 'Waverley.' During his vacations he had played in Glasgow, Perth, Aberdeen, and other leading Scottish towns. On 5 Oct. 1833 he made his first appearance in Dublin, playing Bassanio, and Petruchio; Wellborn to the Sir Giles Overreach of Charles Kean followed on tbe 7th. In Ireland, where he was hospitably entertained, he also played Jeremy Diddler. Mark Antony, and Meg Merrilees. His first appearance in London was made on 16 Nov. 1835 at Covent Garden as Alonzo in 'Pizarro.' He played Macduff, and was popular as Lindsay, an original part in Fitzball's 'Inheritance.' During Macready's tenure of Covent Garden in 1838 he reappeared as Don Pedro in the 'Wonder,' Macready himself playing Don Felix, which was held to be Pritchard's great part. He took a secondary part in the performance of the 'Lady of Lyons,' and was the original Felton in Sheridan Knowles's 'Woman's Wit, or Love's Diguises.' Macready, with some apparent reason, was charged with keeping him back. Pritchard retired ultimately to the country, and became the manager of the York circuit, where he continued to act. He died on 5 Aug. 1850. Pritchard was a sound, careful, and judicious actor, but only just reached the second rank. His best parts appear to have been Don Felix and Mercutio. A portrait of him appears in 'Actors by Daylight' of 30 June 1838.

[Actors by Daylight ; Theatrical Times; Idler, 1838; Hist. of the Theatre Royal, Dublin, 1870; Dibdin's Edinburgh Stage ; Era Almanack, various years.]

J. K.