Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer. He became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. In the early 1800s, he expanded the role of Clown in the harlequinade. Grimaldi originated catchphrases such as “Here we are again!”, which continue to feature in modern pantomimes.
About Joseph Grimaldi in brief
Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer. He became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. In the early 1800s, he expanded the role of Clown in the harlequinade. Grimaldi originated catchphrases such as “Here we are again!”, which continue to feature in modern pantomimes. He outlived both his wife and his actor son, Joseph Samuel, dying at home in Islington in 1837, aged 58. His great-grandfather, John Baptist Grimaldi, was a dentist by trade and an amateur performer, who in the 1730s moved from Italy to England. His father, Joseph Giuseppe Grimaldi, an actor and dancer, also made his way to London in around 1760. He was a serial philanderer who had at least ten children with three different women. Although mostly living with his first son, Grimaldi spent a little time with his mistress Anne Perry and gave birth to a daughter named Henrietta in 1778. In 1764 he apprenticed to Rebecca Brooker, who became his mistress, even though she was under 14 and he was about 60. He died in London in 1823, and was buried at St Paul’s Cathedral, London, where he was buried with his wife, Anne Perry, and their two children, Henrietta and Joseph Samuel. He is survived by his son, who was born in 1764, and his daughter, Rebecca, who died in 1780. He also leaves a son, Joe Grimaldi Jr, who worked as a dancer and public speaker, and a grandson, Joseph Grimaldi III, who is also an actor.
He had a son with his second wife, Catherine Brooker Brooker and a daughter, Catherine Grimaldi-Grimaldi, who later became the ballet master at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London. He has a daughter with his third wife, Josephine Brooker-Gimenez, who has a son named Joseph Samuel Grimaldi and a son called Joseph Samuel Grimaldi-Sterling, who also works as a ballet master. His last wife died in 1838, and he is buried in London at St James’ Park, near his former home in Holborn, north London, in front of a crowd of friends and family. He left the theatre in 1806, but continued to perform on the London stage until his death in 1839. He appeared in many pantomime productions, including Harlequin Made Happy and The Talisman; or, The Golden Egg. His popularity in London led to a demand for him to appear in provincial theatres throughout England. He commanded large fees. His association with Sadler’s Wells came to an end in 1820, chiefly as a result of his deteriorating relationship with the theatre’s management. His health was also declining rapidly and he retired in 1821, and appeared occasionally on stage for a few years thereafter, but his performances were restricted by his worsening physical disabilities.