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Lekain (ləkăN) [key], 1728–78, French actor, whose original names was Henri Louis Cain. In 1750 he made his debut at the Comédie Française and became a protégé of Voltaire. Together with Mlle Clairon, he took steps to introduce simple, realistic acting and historically accurate costuming. Because of the low status accorded to actors in his time, Lekain served three prison terms, once because he declined to appear on stage with an actor who had disgraced the company. His memoirs were published in 1825.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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