CHARLES BANNISTER (1738-1804), English actor and singer, was born in Gloucestershire, and after some amateur and provincial experience made his first London appearance in 1762 as Will in The Orators at the Haymarket. Gifted with a fine bass voice, Bannister acquired a reputation as a singer at Ranelagh and elsewhere, as well as an actor, and was received with such favour that Garrick engaged him for Drury Lane. He died on the 26th of October 1804.
His son John Bannister (1760-1836), born at Deptford on the 12th of May 1760, first studied to be a painter, but soon took to the stage. His first formal appearance was at the Haymarket in 1778 as Dick in The Apprentice. The same year at Drury Lane he played in James Miller's version of Voltaire's Mahomet the part of Zaphna, which he had studied under Garrick. The Palmira of the cast was Mrs Robinson ("Perdita"). Bannister was the best low comedian of his day. As manager of Drury Lane (1802) he was no less successful. He retired in 1815 and died on the 7th of November 1836. He never gave up his taste for painting, and Gainsborough, Morland and Rowlandson were among his friends.
See Adolphus's Memoirs of John Bannister (2 vols., 1838).
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