b. 9 December 1847, London, England, d. 1 March 1912, Folkestone, Kent, England. A comic actor and singer, Grossmith was the son of a journalist who followed his father in this trade. He played piano for the pleasure of friends but then took a small part in a benefit performance of W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan’s Trial By Jury and was seen and heard by the composers. Despite his utter lack of experience, he was given the role of John Wellington Wells in The Sorcerer (1877). As a member of the D’Oyly Carte troupe, he subsequently appeared in most of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic operas, usually in the leading comic role and became noted for his interpretations of the composers’ comic patter songs. Among the roles he originated are Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore (1878), The Major General in The Pirates Of Penzance (1879), Reginald Bunthorn in Patience (1881), the Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe (1882), King Gama in Princess Ida (1884), Ko-Ko in The Mikado (1885), and Jack Point in Yeomen Of The Guard (1888). After Yeomen Of The Guard, Grossmith retired. He was followed on the stage by his son, George Grossmith Jnr. After his retirement from the stage, Grossman and his brother, Weedon, collaborated on the comic novel of Victorian manners, Diary Of A Nobody.
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