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PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource
PlayShakespeare.com: The Ultimate Free Shakespeare Resource

Shakespeare's Players

Joseph Taylor (died 1652) was a 17th-century English actor. As the successor of Richard Burbage as the leading actor with the King's Men, he was arguably the most important actor in the later Jacobean and the Caroline eras.
 
Richard Burbage died in March 1619; Taylor joined the King's Men the next month, and over the coming years he acted all the major roles of the Shakespearean canon. According to James Wright's Historia Histrionica (1699), Taylor "acted Hamlet incomparably well" and was noted for his Iago. He was also famous for the parts of Paris in The Roman Actor (Philip Massinger), Ferdinand in The Duchess of Malfi (John Webster), and Mosca in Volpone, Face in The Alchemist, and Truewit in Epicene (all by Ben Jonson). Taylor starred in many King's men plays; he played the protagonists in Massinger's The Picture and Arthur Wilson's The Swisser; he was the Duke in Lodowick Carlell's The Deserving Favourite.
 
Taylor and John Lowin became leaders of the King's Men after the deaths of Henry Condell (1627) and John Heminges (1630). At the same time (1630), Taylor gained a share in the Blackfriars Theatre, and two shares in the Globe. Together with Cuthbert Burbage, Richard Robinson and Winifred (d.1642), his wife, William Heminges, and John Lowin, Taylor filed a Bill of Complaint on 28 January 1632 in the Court of Requests against the owner of the Globe, Sir Matthew Brend, in order to obtain confirmation of an extension of the 31-year lease originally granted by Sir Matthew Brend's father, Nicholas Brend.
 
He was one of the King's Men who signed the dedication of the first Beaumont and Fletcher folio of 1647.
 
 

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