Colley Cibber was born in London in 1671, the eldest child of the Danish sculptor Caius Gabriel Cibber . In 1688, he served under Lord Devonshire in support of the Glorious Revolution. He began acting in 1690 at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. However, he was not immediately successful and, for several years, he was poor and at odds with his family who desired a better career for their son. However, Cibber eventually became one of the most popular comedians on the London stage, appearing on the stage every year bar two (1727 and 1731) between 1690 and his retirement in 1732. He played more than 100 parts in nearly 3,000 recorded performances, often appearing in his own plays. His most popular play, Love's Last Shift; or, The Fool in Fashion (1696), was a huge success and Cibber originated the fop role of Sir Novelty Fashion. He made his final appearance on stage in 1745, aged 73, as Pandulph in his own unsuccessful play, Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John.
Cibber took over management of the Drury Lane theatre in 1710 and made the theatre a financial success (although, arguably, not a huge artistic success). He had a keen eye for money and commerce, investing in trade companies and gambling heavily. In 1730 he was appointed Poet Laureate, despite his poetry being widely ridiculed by contemporary writers.
Cibber married Katherine Shore, the daughter of the sergeant-trumpeter to the King. They had 12 children, but only 6 survived to adulthood. Cibber's anecdotal and colorful autobiography, An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian, was published in 1740.
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