George & Weedon Grossmith
George Grossmith was born, in London, on December 7, 1847 and died, in Folkestone, Kent on March 1, 1912.

He started work, assisting his father, as a reporter for The Times attached to Bow Street police court. In addition, since he played the piano well and had a good baritone voice, he combined these two attributes to do vocal sketches at the piano (working professionally) and thus supplement his income.

At about this time, Gilbert and Sullivan had started their famous collaboration and, having seen George taking part in some amateur productions (Trial by Jury was one), offered him a role in their next production. This was the part of John Wellington Wells in The Sorcerer. He was an instant hit and became the leading star for several more of their operettas. The parts which he played were:

Sir Joseph Porter in HMS Pinafore
Major-General Stanley in Pirates of Penzance
Reginald Bunthorne in Patience
The Lord Chancellor in Iolanthe
King Gama in Princess Ida
Ko-Ko in The Mikado
Robin Oakapple in Ruddigore
Jack Point in Yeoman of the Guard

He ceased doing Gilbert and Sullivan work in 1889 and went on to become a successful entertainer at the piano both in Britain and the USA.

He had also written several humourous pieces for the magazine Punch, including a continuous series under the heading of Diary of a Nobody which was illustrated by his brother Weedon Grossmith and gathered together to be published in book form in 1892.

Walter Weedon Grossmith, brother of George, was born in 1854. He was educated at the Slade and the Royal Academy with a view to following a career as a painter. However, he joined a theatrical company in 1885 and toured the provinces and America. He wrote a few books, but nothing of any note. He also did some play-writing and was much more successful at that. The best known of his plays, The Night of the Party, was produced in 1901. He eventually took over the management of Terry's Theatre in London, appearing in various parts there and elsewhere until 1917, and died in 1919 in London.

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