Préville (actor)

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Préville (17[1] or 19[2] September 1721 – 18 December 1799) was a French comic actor.[1][2]


Born Pierre-Louis Dubus to an impoverished family in Paris, he was originally intended for the clergy.[1] While playing with a mediocre troop of actors in provincial France, Préville's budding talents were spotted in the town of Rouen by Jean Monnet, who engaged him to perform with the Opéra-Comique in Paris in 1743.[3] Later Préville returned to the provinces and was the manager of the Grand Théâtre in Lyon.[2]

He joined the Comédie Francaise in Paris in 1753, where he debuted on 20 September in the role of Crispin in Jean-François Regnard's Le Légataire universel (The Sole Legatee).[1] He took on roles previously played by François-Arnoul Poisson[fr] and revealed himself to be the best comedian in the company since Jean-Baptiste Raisin.[fr] He appeared with the actress Mlle Dangeville[fr] with great success in several plays by Pierre de Marivaux[4] and created the roles of Figaro in Pierre Beaumarchais's Le Barbier de Séville in 1775 and Brid'oison in Le Mariage de Figaro in 1784.[3] One of his most notable successes was playing 6 characters in one in Edmé Boursault's Le Mercure galant.[4]

He retired in 1786, returning to the stage in 1791 and 1794–5,[3] and died in Beauvais at the age of 78 years and 3 months.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Michaud 1863, pp. 325–326.
  2. ^ a b c d L'Intermédiaire 1897, p. 407.
  3. ^ a b c Forman 2010, p. 204.
  4. ^ a b Hartnoll 1983, p. 661.
  • Forman, Edward (2010). Historical Dictionary of French Theatre. Lanham, Maryland: The Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-4939-6.
  • Hartnoll, Phyllis (1983). The Oxford Companion to the Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-211546-1.
  • L'Intermédiaire des chercheurs et curieux, vol. 36 (1897). Paris. View at Google Books.
  • Michaud, Louis Gabriel (1863). Biographie universelle ancienne et moderne, vol. 34. Paris: Desplaces. View at Google Books.