Skip to main content
Personal data

Portrait media

  • Image
    David Garrick (painting by Joshua Reynolds, ca. 1767)
David Garrick
Born February 19, 1717
in Hereford

Died January 20, 1779
at his house in Adelphi Buildings, London

English actor, dramatist and theatre manager of the Drury Lane Theatre. Son of Peter Garrick (1681-1736/7) and Arabella Clough (1694-1740). Brother of George Garrick. He arrived in London in 1737 together with his former mentor Dr Johnson. He had his breakthrough in 1741 when he starred as Richard III in Shakespeare's play, and he was one of the most (if not the most) popular London actors for the remainder of his life. In 1747 he became the manager of Drury Lane Theatre, a position which he kept until 1776.


Life with Boswell

Boswell had met David Garrick as early as 1760, during Boswell's first runaway visit to London. They next met on January 13, 1763, in Garrick's own home in London, where Garrick extended a permanent breakfast invitation to Boswell. On January 20 of that year, he predicted that "you [Boswell] will be a very great man". On January 21 they breakfasted together in the company of James Love and John Brown. Boswell didn't see much more of him during the remainder of his 62-63 stay in London.

Years later they were both members of the famous literary club.


There is an abundance of literature available by or about David Garrick, much of it in the public domain. Several editions of his The Clandestine Marriage has been published, and numerous biographies about him exist, such as Carola Oman's 1958 David Garrick and even the 1780 Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, compiled by Thomas Davies, which was reprinted as a facsimile of the original edition in 1972.