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Richard Burbage was an Elizabethan actor known to us mostly by association with Shakespeare: He first played the lead in Hamlet, King Lear, Othello and Richard III. He played roles in plays by Thomas Kyd, Ben Jonson, and John Webster as well. He was born in London in 1567, and died there around May, 1619. There is conflicting information regarding the exact date of his death. (A note on that year: 1619 began on March 25, though going back, we call that whole year 1619. The confusion, however, results from the exact day in March on which he died. Different sources give different dates. No doubt the year business doesn't help. Thanks, Gritchka, for pointing that out.) He was barrel-like in appearance: broad-chested and stout. He was also a painter.

He became famous in his day by a young age, and acted with Earl of Leicester's Men, which merged with Lord Strange's Men, Lord Chamberlain's Men, and finally The King's Men. He inherited the Blackfriars Theatre from his father, actor John Burbage, in 1597, and used the wood to help build The Globe.

He's gone and with him what a world are dead.
Which he review'd, to be revived so,
No more young Hamlet, old Hieronimo
Kind Lear, the Grieved Moor, and more beside,
That lived in him; have now for ever died

ex. from "A Funerall Elegye on the Death of the famous Actor Richard Burbedg who dyed on Saturday in Lent the 13 of March 1618", anon. "Hieronimo" or "Hieronymo" is the main character from Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy.

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