Julia Glover

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Julia Betterton Glover (January 8, 1779[1] – July 16, 1850) was an Irish-born stage actress well known for her comic roles in the late 18th and 19th centuries.[1]


Glover was born Julia Betterton in 1779[2] or 1781[3] in Newry, Ireland.[2] Her father was an actor who descended from 17th century actor Thomas Betterton.[3] As a child, she toured with her father and began taking small parts in plays.[2] In 1787, she joined the York Circuit under manager Tate Wilkinson[3] and appeared as the Page in Thomas Otway's The Orphan, as well as the Duke of York with George Frederick Cooke in Richard III.[3][4] When Cooke was cast as Glumdalca, the Queen of the Giants, in Fieldings burlesque play Tom Thumb, Cooke chose Julia to play the title role.[1] In 1795 she went to Bath and played the parts of Juliet, Imogen, Desdemona, Lady Macbeth and Lydia Languish.[2][3] She became well known, particularly praised for her comic role as Languish, and news of her success reached London.[2] A number of job offers were made, but they were declined by her father.[3] He eventually accepted a lucrative offer (taking her salary for himself), for which she made her London début in 1797 as Percy by Hannah More.[2][3]

Early in her career, Glover found herself competing for tragic parts with Maria Ann Campion, an actress from Dublin.[4] Glover subsequently favoured comic roles.[4] In 1800, her father sold her in marriage to Samuel Glover for £1, 000, although the money was never paid.[2] Unhappily married, she had eight children, four of whom survived childhood.[3] In 1820, she played Hamlet at the Lyceum Theatre to critical acclaim.[5] In 1822, she appeared as Nurse in Romeo and Juliet at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane; her daughter Phyllis played Juliet.[3] On February 8, 1837, her father, with whom she had had an unhappy relationship, died.[2][3]

Her son was William Howard Glover. In 1850, Glover announced her retirement from the stage. After two weeks confined to her bed, she appeared at Drury Lane for her farewell benefit performance on July 12, 1850 as Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals.[3] She was noticeably ill and weak during her performance and was unable to stand to receive her applause at the end of the play.[4] Instead, the curtain rose to reveal Glover seated, surrounded by the rest of the cast.[4] She died days later on July 16, 1850.