Castro, Jacob de

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CASTRO, JACOB DE

CASTRO, JACOB DE (Jacob Decastro ; 1758–1824), English comedian. De Castro was the son of a teacher at the congregational school of the London Sephardi community, at which he was himself educated. He first revealed talent as a mimic in the traditional Purim plays, and in 1779 members of the community helped to introduce him to the stage. In 1786 he took up an engagement with Philip Astley, the leading English showman of his day, whose troupe became known as "Astley's Jews" because of the large number of Jews employed in it. In 1803 De Castro was appointed manager of the Royalty Theater, London, but afterward returned to Astley, remaining with him until the latter's death in 1814. De Castro is principally remembered through his Memoirs, edited by R. Humphreys in 1824. His last years were chiefly spent in Dublin.

bibliography:

A. Rubens, Anglo-Jewish Portraits (1935), 20f.; A.M. Hyamson, Sephardim of England (19512), 113, 115.

[Cecil Roth]