Catherine Clive

From A Compendium of Irish Biography, 1878

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Clive, Catherine, a celebrated comic actress (daughter of a lawyer named Raftor, originally of Kilkenny), is generally stated to have been born in the north of Ireland in 1711. "When young she was married to Richard Clive, a barrister; but the union was unfortunate, and a separation taking place, she adopted the theatrical profession, in which she attained a distinguished rank. She filled and adorned a variety of comic parts, and whether she exhibited the woman of good sense, of real fine breeding, — the humorous, the fantastic, the affected, the rude, the awkward, or the ridiculous female in any rank of society — she was sure to fascinate the audience."[3] Dr. Johnson said: "Mrs. Clive was the best player I ever saw. . . What Clive did best she did better than Garrick, but could not do half so many things well. She was a better romp than any I ever saw in nature." Her composition and spelling are described as "audacious" in their incorrectness. Leigh Hunt writes: "She was the favourite Nell of the stage in the Devil to Pay and similar characters; and, according to Garrick, there was something of the devil to pay in all her stage life. She might have been Macklin's sister for humour, judgment, and sturdiness of purpose, amounting to violence, not unmixed with generosity. The latter part of her life she spent in retirement at Strawberry Hill, where she was a neighbour and friend to Horace Walpole, whose effeminacy she helped to keep on the alert. It always seems to us as if she had been the man of the two, aud he the woman." Her private character was exemplary. She died at Twickenham, near London, 6th December 1785, aged about 74.

Sources

3. Actors, Representative: W. Clark Russell. London,1875.

38. Biographical Dictionary: John Gorton. 3 vols. London, 1833.

146. Gentleman's Magazine. London, 1731-1868.
Gilbert, John T., see Nos. 110, 335.

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