Bransby Williams

Bransby Williams (born as Bransby William Pharez) (14 August 1870 – 3 December 1961) was a British actor, comedian and monologist. He became known as "The Irving of the Music Halls". Born in Hackney, London, Williams began his working life as a tea taster in Mincing Lane before working in the design department of a wallpaper manufacturer. He appeared as an amateur actor before turning professional doing impersonations of Dan Leno, Gus Elen, Joe Elvin, Albert Chevalier and other music hall stars in working men's clubs. His first appearance in a music hall was at The London Music Hall in Shoreditch on 26 August 1896, during which he gave impersonations of the leading actors of that time, including Henry Irving in The Bells, Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Svengali from the popular play Trilby, adapted from George Du Maurier’s novel of the same name. In 1897 Williams first created a variety of characters, including many from the works of Dickens such as Mr Micawber, Uriah Heep, Bill Sikes and Fagin. In 1898 he appeared as Sydney Carton in The Noble Deed, based on A Tale of Two Cities at the Oxford Theatre.


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