Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi – 1838 – biographical story
Charles Dickens as a seven-year-old had first seen Grimaldi perform, and it left a mark on him.
Charles edited the Memoirs of Joseph Grimaldi in 1838. Grimaldi (1778-1837) had prepared the autobiography, Charles edited it into a two volume autobiography of the pioneering nineteenth-century clown Joseph Grimaldi.
This was a twenty-five chapter review of his life.
Grimaldi his great-grandfather had moved from Italy, he was a dentist and an amateur performer. His grandfather was also a performer, who reputedly was imprisoned in the Bastille for a scandalous performance in France.
Joseph’s father, Joseph Giuseppe Grimaldi (aka ‘the Signor’ or ‘Giuseppe’) was also an actor and dancer who played Pantaloon in pantomimes at the Theatre Royal.
Joseph was born in London, to Giuseppe and his fourteen-year-old mistress, Rebeca Brooker. His father put him to work in the harlequinade from the age of two.
Grimaldi became an actor, comedian and dancer who expanded the role of the clown. He created the base for the modern clown, becoming one of the most famous clowns, known as ‘The Clown of Clowns.