Edward "Ned" Alleyn (1 September 1566 – 25 November 1626) was an English actor. He was a major figure of the Elizabethan theatre, and founder of Dulwich College and Alleyn's School. He was rated by common consent as the foremost actor of his time; his only close rival was Richard Burbage. Alleyn played the title roles of three plays by Christopher Marlowe, and acted in plays by William Shakespeare as well. He retired from the stage in 1598, but returned to it in 1604.