William Shakespeare

Date of birth: 1564 — Date of death: 1616

Playwright. Third child of John Shakespeare (c.1530-1401) and Mary Arden, William Shakespeare is Britain's most famous playwright. He married Anne Hathaway in Stratford-upon-Avon in 1582, but is known to have been acting in London by the 1590s. Earlier works such as the Henry VI trilogy and Richard III reflect the popularity of historical drama during Shakespeare's lifetime. His poetry - particularly narrative poems such as Venus and Adonis and the sonnets - is firmly established in the English canon.