Sarah Siddons, an English actress, born in Brecknock, South Wales, July 5, 1755, died in London, June 8, 1831. The eldest of the children of Roger Kemble (see Kemble), at 13 years of age she took principal parts in English operas. At 18 she married Mr. Siddons, a young actor in the Kemble company. She first appeared at Drury Lane theatre Dec. 29, 1775, as Portia in the "Merchant of Venice," but failed to produce a decided impression, apparently in great part from timidity, and at the close of the season was dismissed. She devoted herself anew to study, and, after great successes at various provincial theatres, was solicited to reappear at Drury Lane. On Oct. 10, 1782, she began this second engagement as Isabella in "The Fatal Marriage," producing a profound sensation. At once she stood at the head of the British stage, and so continued till her retirement from professional life, June 29, 1812. On this occasion she played Lady Macbeth, and the moment the night scene was over the audience rose and demanded that the play should close. Mrs. Siddons was of medium height, symmetrical and majestic, with corresponding voice and expression. Her countenance was of extraordinary flexibility.
Her genius at first inclined to pathetic characters, as Isabella, Ophelia, Jane Shore, Belvidera, or Euphrasia, but later to those of power and majesty. In some other roles she was but moderately successful. Her private character was highly esteemed.