William Kempe Biography

Comedian, Actor, Theater Actor (c. 1560–c. 1603)
William Kempe was one of the most famous clowns of the Elizabethan era and originated some of Shakespeare's comedic characters.


William Kempe originated several of Shakespeare's best-known characters, including Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing and Peter in Romeo and Juliet. His name, however, disappears from the lists of the company in 1599, and it has been speculated that his penchant for improvising and his earthy jigs may not have appealed to the more refined audience the company was trying to cultivate.

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