1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Liston, John

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LISTON, JOHN (c. 1776-1846), English comedian, was born in London. He made his public début on the stage at Weymouth as Lord Duberley in The Heir-at-law. After several dismal failures in tragic parts, some of them in support of Mrs Siddons, he discovered accidentally that his forte was comedy, especially in the personation of old men and country boys, in which he displayed a fund of drollery and broad humour. An introduction to Charles Kemble led to his appearance at the Haymarket on the 10th of June 1805 as Sheepface in the Village Lawyer, and his association with this theatre continued with few interruptions until 1830. Paul Pry, the most famous of all his impersonations, was first presented on the 13th of September 1825, and soon became, thanks to his creative genius, a real personage. Liston remained on the stage till 1837; during his last years his mind failed, and he died on the 22nd of March 1846. He had married in 1807 Miss Tyrer (d. 1854), a singer and actress.

Several pictures of Liston in character are in the Garrick Club, London, and one as Paul Pry in the South Kensington Museum.