Fitzwilliam, Edward (1788-1852) (DNB00)

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FITZWILLIAM, EDWARD (1788– 1852), actor, was bomrnof Irish parents near Holborn in London on 8 Aug. 1788, In 1806 he was actor and property man with Trotter, manager of the theatres at Southend and Hythe. At Gosport in 1808 he was seen by Elliston, who engaged him for his theatre at Birmingham. As Hodge in 'Love in a Village' he made, at the West London Theatre, his first appearance in London. In 1813 he was a leading actor at the Olympic, under Elliston, with whom he migrated to the Royal Circus, subsequently known as the Surrey, his first part at this house being Humphrey Grizzle in 'Three and the Deuce.' Under the management of Thomas Dibdin [q. v.] he rose at this house to the height of his popularity, his best parts being Leporello, Dumbiedykes in the 'Heart of Midlothian,' Patch, Partridge in 'Tom Jones,' and Humphry Clinker. At the Surrey he met Miss Copeland [see Fitzwilliam, Fanny Elizabeth], whom on 2 Dec. 1822 he married. Fitzwilliam — who had once appeared at Drury Lane for the benefit of T. P. Cooke, playing Sancho in 'Lovers' Quarrels' and singing a song, 'Paddy Carey,' in which he was very popular — joined the regular company at that house 10 Nov. 1821 as O'Rourke O'Daisy in 'Hit Of Miss.' From this time his reputation dwindled. Padreen Gar in 'Giovanni in Ireland,' Loney Mactwolter in the 'Review,' and other Irish parts were assigned him. After a time he practically forsook the stage and became a comic vocalist at city entertainments. About 1845 he retired on an annuity from the Drury Lane Theatrical Fund, and died at his house in Regent Street 30 March 1862. In society, in which he was popular, he was known as 'Little Fitz.' He was about 5 ft. 3 in. in height, robustly built, and had a good-humoured characteristically Irish physiognomy. His son is noticed below.

[Genest's Account of the English Stage; Oxberry's Dramatic Biography, vol, ii.; Biography of the British Stage; Era newspaper, 4 April 1852; Era Almanack various years; Oxberry's Dramatic Chronology.]

J. K.