John Brougham (1814-1880), British actor, was born at Dublin on the 9th of May 1814, and was educated for a surgeon. Owing to family misfortunes he was thrown upon his own resources and made his first appearance on the London stage in 1830, at the Tottenham Street theatre in Tom and Jerry, in which he played six characters. In 1831 he was a member of Madame Vestris's company, and wrote his first play, a burlesque. He remained with Madame Vestris as long as she and Charles Mathews retained Covent Garden, and he collaborated with Dion Boucicault in writing London Assurance, Dazzle being one of his best parts. In 1840 he managed the Lyceum theatre, for which he wrote several light burlesques, but in 1842 he moved to the United States, where he became a member of W.E. Burton's company, for which he wrote several comedies. Later he was the manager of Niblo's Garden, and in 1850 opened Brougham's Lyceum, which, like his next speculation, the lease of the Bowery theatre, was not financially a success. He was later connected with Wallack's and Daly's theatres, and wrote plays for both.
In 1860 he returned to London, where he adapted or wrote several plays, including The Duke's Motto for Fechter. After the Civil War he returned to New York. Brougham's theatre was opened in 1869 with his comedy Better Late than Never, but this managerial experience was also unfortunate, and he took to playing with various stock companies. His last appearance was in 1879 as O'Reilly, the detective, in Boucicault's Rescued, and he died in New York on the 7th of June 1880. Brougham was the author of nearly 100 plays, most of them now forgotten. He was the founder of the Lotus Club in New York, and for a time its president. He also edited there in 1852 a comic paper called The Lantern, and published two collections of miscellaneous writings, A Basket of Chips and The Bunsby Papers. Brougham is said to have been the original of Harry Lorrequer in Charles Lever's novel. He was twice married, in 1838 to Emma Williams (d. 1865), and in 1844 to Mrs Annette Hawley (d. 1870), both actresses.