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Rede, William Leman (DNB00)

REDE, WILLIAM LEMAN (1802–1847), dramatist, brother of Leman Thomas [Tertius] Rede [q. v.], was born at Hamburg in 1802. At an early age he took to writing for the stage. He was very intimately connected with the Strand Theatre, under the management of W. J. Hammond. To introduce Lionel Benjamin Rayner at that theatre in 1832, he wrote a piece called ‘Professionals Puzzled,’ which gained him immediate popularity. On 23 Jan. 1833 his most successful play, ‘The Rake's Progress,’ was produced at the Olympic, and ran for the entire season. In rapid succession appeared ‘His First Champagne’ at the Strand, October 1833; ‘Cupid in London,’ extravaganza, at the Queen's Theatre, in January 1835; ‘The Old and Young Stager,’ farce, at the Olympic, December 1835; ‘Come to Town,’ farce, at the Strand, April 1836; ‘The Gaberlunzie Man,’ extravaganza, at the English Opera House, September 1836; ‘Douglas Travestie’ and ‘the Peregrinations of Pickwick’ at the Adelphi in 1837; ‘Sixteen-String Jack’ and ‘An Affair of Honour’ at the Olympic in 1841. After 1841 he turned his attention to other branches of literature, though still writing occasional pieces for the stage. He frequently contributed to ‘Bentley's,’ the ‘New Monthly,’ and other magazines. In 1842 he started a rival to ‘Punch,’ called ‘Judy,’ of which only two numbers appeared. In 1846 a novel, entitled ‘The Royal Rake,’ founded on the early history of George IV, appeared in the ‘Sunday Times,’ and he was engaged on ‘The Man in Possession’ for the same paper at the time of his death. He died suddenly of apoplexy on 3 April 1847, at his house in Southampton Street.

By his wife Sarah, daughter of John Cooke, a bass singer of Drury Lane Theatre, whom he married in 1832, he left one son.

[Era, 11 April 1847; Gent. Mag. 1847, i. 666; Ward's Men of the Reign, p. 747; Spielman's Hist. of Punch, 1895, p. 283.]

E. I. C.