Heywood, Thomas, 1574?–1641, English dramatist. A prolific writer, he claimed to have written and collaborated on more than 200 plays, most of which are now lost. Although he wrote dramas based on English history, classical mythology, and romantic adventure, he is most famous for those dealing with contemporary English life. Heywood's best play, A Woman Killed with Kindness (1603), is one of the finest examples of domestic tragedy in the English drama. His other notable plays include The Fair Maid of the West (1631) and The London Traveler (1633). A professional actor as well as a playwright, he wrote an Apology for Actors (1612) in reply to attacks against the theater by the Puritans.
See studies by O. Cromwell (1928, repr. 1969), A. M. Clark (1931, repr. 1967), and F. S. Boas (1950).