Cherry, Andrew (1762–1812), actor and playwright, was born 11 January 1762 in Limerick, eldest son of John Cherry, printer and bookseller; nothing is known of his mother. Educated at the Limerick grammar school, he left at the age of 11 to work in Dublin for James Potts (qv), printer and bookseller. Potts was a keen theatregoer and often took his young apprentice with him. Cherry became strongly attracted to the theatre, and at the age of 14 first appeared on the stage as Lucia in the tragedy ‘Cato’ at the Blackamoor's Head, Towers's St., Dublin. He made his professional debut aged 17 at Naas, Co. Kildare, as Col. Feignwell in ‘Bold stroke for a wife’, with a strolling group composed mostly of runaways. It was a difficult role, but he acquitted himself well and won great applause. For the next few years he lived the precarious life of a strolling player, playing a great variety of roles in tragedy, comedy, and farce, but poverty eventually compelled him to return to the bookselling trade. After another three years the lure of the stage proved too strong, and after several abortive attempts to become an actor he joined the company of Richard William Knipe, whose daughter, an actress, he married (1783); they had a large family. Touring northern country towns over the next few years with the Belfast-based company of Michael Atkins (1747?–1812), he gained a reputation as a talented comic actor. In October 1786 he appeared as Darby in O'Keefe's ‘Poor soldier’ at the Theatre Royal, Smock Alley, Dublin, and for the next six years was one of the most successful comic actors in Dublin. Known as ‘Little Cherry’, he was famous for roguish comic improvisations that were often the highlight of the performance. In about 1792 he and his wife toured Britain as members of Tate Wilkinson's company, returning to Dublin in 1794 for two seasons, but the irregularity of payment in the Dublin theatre led him to return to England. He and his wife accepted an engagement with the Theatre Royal, Manchester, where they spent two years. Afterwards they went to Bath, and performed successfully for four years. In September 1802 Cherry made his debut at Drury Lane, London, as Sir Benjamin Dove in Cumberland's ‘The brothers’ and as Lazarillo in Jephson's ‘Two strings to your bow’, and was very well received.
Cherry also wrote fourteen plays, six of which were published: the most popular were the comedy ‘The soldier's daughter’ (1804) and the operatic dramas ‘The travellers’ (1806), ‘Spanish dollars’ (1806), and ‘Peter the Great’ (1807). He wrote several songs, of which ‘The bay of Biscay’ and especially ‘The green little shamrock of Ireland’ enjoyed some lasting popularity. From 1807 he toured Wales and Ireland with his own travelling company and managed theatres at Swansea and Monmouth; Edmund Kean was his company's leading member (1809–11). Cherry died at Monmouth 12 February 1812.