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George Anne Bellamy was born in Ireland to a Miss Seal, a very young Quaker lady. Her mother had a romantic liaison with Lord Tyrawley, a diplomat serving as British Ambassador to Portugal, but after discovering she was pregnant, married a Captain Bellamy. He disappeared not long after the baby's birth. George Anne's unusual name was a mistake, the result of a mishearing of her intended name Georgiana at her christening. Lord Tyrawley acknowledged her as his daughter and provided for her education at a convent in Boulogne, France. Through him she also came to know a number of prominent people in London, where she lived with her mother. George Anne met the great actor David Garrick and theatrical manager John Rich, and decided to pursue an acting career. Her earliest roles at Covent Garden, beginning about 1744, were as Miss Prue in Love for Love and Monimia in The Orphan. Her reputation as an actress rested largely on her beauty, personal charm, and feminine manner. Her career reached its pinnacle in 1750 with her performance as Juliet to David Garrick’s Romeo at Drury Lane. An extravagant lifestyle, including partying, pregnancies, and both legal and bigamous marriages, took its toll on George Anne Bellamy’s looks and her appeal to managers. Her later life was marred by ill health and serious financial troubles. In 1785, a benefit on her behalf was held at Covent Garden, and the same year her revealing six-volume autobiography, An Apology for the Life of George Anne Bellamy, was published.
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