(1622 - 1673)
Born Jean-Baptiste Poquelin in Paris in 1622, the dramatist renounced his inherited right to a royal appointment in 1643, and one year later helped to found a theater company for which he served as casting director. He then adopted Molière as his stage name. In the mid-1660s, the Catholic Church was so incensed by the plays of Molière that they had production of his play Tartuffe halted for five years and ensured the permanent closing of Don Juan after fifteen performances. The actor and comic died after collapsing onstage during the fourth showing of his final play, The Imaginary Invalid.