William Hunter Kendal

William Hunter Kendal

William Hunter Kendal

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William Hunter Kendal (16 December 1843 – 7 November 1917) was an English actor and theatre manager. He and his wife Madge starred at the Haymarket in Shakespearian revivals and the old English comedies beginning in the 1860s. In the 1870s, they starred in a series of "fairy comedies" by W. S. Gilbert and in many plays on the West End with the Bancrofts and others. In the 1880s, they starred at and jointly managed (with John Hare) the St. James's Theatre. They then enjoyed a long touring career.


Kendal was born William Hunter Grimston in London, the eldest son of Edward Hunter Grimston, and his wife, Louisa née Rider. His maternal grandfather was a painter, and the boy demonstrated early talent in painting, but his parents urged him to study medicine. He often visited the Soho Theatre to sketch the performers, which led to his trying acting, in 1861, as Louis XIV, in A Life's Revenge, billed as "Mr Kendall".Foulkes, Richard. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, September 2004, accessed 27 December 2009


Kendal continued at the Soho for two years and then played provincial theatres, including in Glasgow, where he performed for four years. He joined J. B. Buckstone's company at the Haymarket Theatre in London in 1866, where he performed in a wide variety of works, from burlesque to Shakespeare and was particularly admired for his comic roles. In 1869 he...
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