1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Grossmith, George
GROSSMITH, GEORGE (1847–), English comedian, was born on the 9th of December 1847, the son of a law reporter and entertainer of the same name. After some years of journalistic work he started about 1870 as a public entertainer, with songs and recitations; but in 1877 he began a long connexion with the Gilbert and Sullivan operas at the Savoy Theatre, London, in The Sorcerer. For twelve years he had the leading part, his capacity for “patter-songs,” and his humorous acting, dancing and singing marking his creations of the chief characters in the Gilbert and Sullivan operas as the expression of a highly original individuality. In 1889 he left the Savoy, and again set up as an entertainer, visiting all the cities of Great Britain and the United States, but retiring in 1901. Among other books he wrote The Reminiscences of a Society Clown (1888); and, with his brother Weedon, The Diary of a Nobody (1894). His humorous songs and sketches numbered over six hundred. His younger brother, Weedon Grossmith, who was educated as a painter and exhibited at the Academy, also took to the stage, his first notable success being in the Pantomime Rehearsal; in 1894 he went into management on his own account, and had much success as a comedian. George Grossmith's two sons, Laurence Grossmith and George Grossmith, jun., were both actors, the latter becoming a well-known figure in the musical comedies at the Gaiety Theatre, London.