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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

William Kempe (died 1603), commonly referred to as Will Kemp, was an English actor and dancer specialising in comic roles and best known for having been one of the original players in early dramas by William Shakespeare. Roles associated with his name may include the great comic creation, Falstaff, and his contemporaries considered him the successor to the great clown of the previous generation, Richard Tarlton.
 
Kempe's success and influence was such that in December 1598 he was one of a core of five actor-shareholders in the Lord Chamberlain's Men alongside Shakespeare and Richard Burbage, but in a short time (possibly after a disagreement among the members of the troupe) he parted company with the group. Despite his fame as a performer and subsequent intent to continue his career, he appears to have died unregarded and in penury circa 1603.
 

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