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Aickin, James

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The actor James Aickin was born in Dublin about 1735, the son of a weaver and the younger brother of the actor Francis Aickin (d. 1805). He spent the early part of his career as a strolling player in Ireland, and then acted in Edinburgh until he went down to London to make his debut as Young Belmont in “The Foundling” at Drury Lane on 6 November 1767. He remained an active player at that theatre 32 seasons until, after suffering several strokes, he died in London in March 1803, at the age of 69. He played a large number of supporting roles, mainly blunt, honest and elderly men, such as Brabantio in “Othello”, Buckingham in “Richard III”, Capulet in “Romeo and Juliet”, Gloster in “King Lear”, Colonel Blunt in “The Committee” (613), Major O’Flaherty in “The West Indian” and Lord Randolph in “Douglas”. In those pictures of him at the Garrick Club his corpulence, which earned him the nickname Belly, can be seen. Other portraits of Aickin show him as King Henry VI (engraved by Walker after Dighton), and as Horatio in “The Fair Penitent” and Phocion in “The Grecian Daughter” (both engraved by W. Walker after D. Dodd). (BDA)
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