Macklin, Charles (măkˈlĭn) [key], 1697?–1797, English actor and dramatist, whose original name was Charles McLaughlin, b. Ireland. He began his career as a strolling player. His style of acting was radically different from the prevailing declamatory style of James Quin and Barton Booth. At first unsuccessful, he won fame with his dignified, tragic portrayal of Shylock in his production (1741) of The Merchant of Venice. This performance foreshadowed the naturalistic school of acting which was to be realized with David Garrick. His production (1772) of Macbeth, in which he used Scottish dress, was noted as an early attempt to achieve historical accuracy in costuming. Macklin's eccentricities and violent temper were notorious. He wrote and acted in Love à la Mode (1759) and The Man of the World (1781).
See biographies by E. A. Perry (1891) and W. W. Appleton (1960).