Posts Tagged ‘suicide’

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Fitzsimmons & Flory, American vaudeville entertainers

November 21, 2014

Fitzsimmons & Flory (active 1926-1927), American vaudeville entertainers, as they appeared on tour in the United States during 1926 and 1927 in ‘A Novel Comedy Diversion’ entitled By the Weight?
(photo: Sussman, 305 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, 1926/27)

Before teaming up with Mlle. Flory in 1926, Billy Fitzsimmons had been on the vaudeville circuits in the United States for some years, notably in 1918 with Florence Normand, whom he had married he had married on 9 November 1917 at City Hall, New York, in Trimmings, a comedy skit (Variety, New York, Friday, 9 November 1917, p. 25c; The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Wednesday, 11 September 1918, p. 2a). Between 1921 and 1925 he toured with Joe Shriner in ‘a new comedy diversion’ entitled The Newsdealer.

Mlle. Flory was known as Jeanette Fleury before the fall of 1926 and her appearances with Billy Fitzsimmons. The reason for her change of name is unknown but it is remarkable in the light of the widely reported suicide at Drury Lane Theatre, London, on 17 June that year of the well-known French actress and singer, Regine Flory.

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Keith’s Vaudeville at Fairfax Theatre, Miami, Florida, week of Monday, 23 April 1923
‘Joe Shriner and William Fitzsimmons have a novel comedy entitled ”The Newsdealer.” This little sketch portrays an old man of 92 as the newsdealer, while Shriner as an actor brings in much witticisms in this conversation with the newsdealer. They offer many songs of the rag time variety as well as the old ones of yesterday.’
(The Miami Daily Metropolis, Miami, Wednesday, 24 April 1923, p. 2c)

Faurot Opera House, Lima, Ohio, October 1926
‘Billy Fitzsimmons and Mlle Flory are a new combination of entertainers and will be seen in a novelty comedy diversion entitled ”By the Weight.” Fitzsimmons has made a speciality of eccentric old men parts, haing appeared in intimate productions under the management of Cohan and Harris … Mlle. Flory was in four consecutive editions of Greenwich Village Follies and with ”Innocent Eyes” and ”Gay Paree.”’
(The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 13 October 1926, p. 13a)

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Jenny Golder at the Apollo music hall, Rome

April 21, 2014

programme cover for the Apollo music hall, Rome, undated, circa 1924, when Jenny Golder (1893?-1928), Australian-born English variety theatre dancer and singer, headed the bill with her song, ‘Éléonore!’ following her appearances at the Folies Bérgère, Paris.

The popular Apollo music hall in Rome suffered a catastrophic fire caused by an electrical short circuit in December 1926. Four actresses were caught in their dressing rooms and burnt to death.

Jenny Golder‘s real name was Rosie Sloman. According to information given for the 1901 United Kingdom Census (36 Claremont Road, Tunbridge Wells, where she was boarding), she was then 8 years old and born in Australia. In 1910/11 she and Joseph Bowden (whom she married in 1914) toured United Kingdom music halls with a song and dance scena. In 1913, under her own name, she appeared as a dancer in two short films: The Cowboy Twist and The Spanish-American Quickstep; in the latter she was accompanied by Harry Perry. Miss Golder’s career began to flourish in the early 1920s when she went to Paris, where she made several recordings.

‘Jenny Golder, an English girl, with a French reputation, looks a good bet for America. But when an artiste can do low comedy a la Marie Lloyd; step dance like Ida May Chadwick, and give Ella Shields and Hetty King a run for their money as a male impersonator, she is not to be blamed for looking forward to starring with Harry Pilcer at the Palace, Paris, in August.’
(The Vaudeville News and New York Star, New York, Friday, 2 July 1926, p. 8a)

Jenny Golder committed suicide at her flat in the Rue Desaix, Paris, on 11 July 1928, by shooting herself through the heart.

Jenny Golder’s sister, Muriel M. Sloman, a quick-change artist known on the music hall stage as Myra Glen, was married in 1944 to Joseph H. Black and died in October 1971.

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Régine Flory, French singer and dancer, a Parisian and London favourite

April 18, 2014

Régine Flory (née Marie Antoinette Artaz, 1894-1926), French singer and dancer, as she appeared in a revue at the Cigale, Paris, during 1919.
(photo: Felix, Paris, 1919)

‘Mlle. Régine Flory is another young artist of great promise. Hitherto she had always seemed an excellent revue star, but in a recent revue at the Cigale she revealed an astonishing tenderness and dramatic intensity. Next she will be see in The Bird of Paradise. I should dearly love to see her as – Juliette.’
(Tor de Arozarena, ‘The Paris Stage,’ ‘The Stage’ Year Book 1920, London, 1920, p. 61)

Mlle. Flory as she appeared in the revue, Vanity Fair, which was produced at the Palace Theatre, London, under the management of Alfred Butt on 6 November 1916. This recording of her singing ‘The Tanko,’ a ditty so disapproved of by Siegfried Sassoon, written by Arthur Wimperis, with music by Max Darewski, was recorded for the HMV label (2-3222) in the studios of The Gramophone Co Ltd at Hayes, Middlesex, near London, on 16 January 1917.

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Regine Flory’s untimely death, which occurred at Drury Lane Theatre on 17 June 1926, during a performance of Rose Marie, was reported across the globe. For the full, distressing details, see The Times, London, Wednesday, 23 June 1926, p. 5.

‘While the performance of Rose Marie was being played to a packed house at Drury Lane, Mlle. Regine Flory, a French revue actress and dancer, shot and killed herself in the manager’s office at the theatre. It is said the tragedy occurred in the presence of Sir Alfred Butt and another man, a friend of the actress, while Mlle. Flory was having an interview with Sir Alfred over some business connected with theatrical employment. The dead woman was only 32 years of age and had appeared in various West-End shows at the Palace, Gaiety, etc. her last engagement in London was in 1917 and, it appeared, she was very desirous of again starring in a musical show. Two years ago she attempted to drown herself in the seine, and had been in ill health for some time.’
(The Vaudeville New and New York Star, New York, Friday, 9 July 1926, p. 6b)

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April 18, 2014

Régine Flory (née Marie Antoinette Artaz, 1894-1926), French singer and dancer, as she appeared in a revue at the Cigale, Paris, during 1919.
(photo: Felix, Paris, 1919)

‘Mlle. Régine Flory is another young artist of great promise. Hitherto she had always seemed an excellent revue star, but in a recent revue at the Cigale she revealed an astonishing tenderness and dramatic intensity. Next she will be see in The Bird of Paradise. I should dearly love to see her as – Juliette.’
(Tor de Arozarena, ‘The Paris Stage,’ ‘The Stage’ Year Book 1920, London, 1920, p. 61)

Mlle. Flory as she appeared in the revue, Vanity Fair, which was produced at the Palace Theatre, London, under the management of Alfred Butt on 6 November 1916. This recording of her singing ‘The Tanko,’ a ditty so disapproved of by Siegfried Sassoon, written by Arthur Wimperis, with music by Max Darewski, was recorded for the HMV label (2-3222) in the studios of The Gramophone Co Ltd at Hayes, Middlesex, near London, on 16 January 1917.

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Regine Flory’s untimely death, which occurred at Drury Lane Theatre on 17 June 1926, during a performance of Rose Marie, was reported across the globe. For the full, distressing details, see The Times, London, Wednesday, 23 June 1926, p. 5.

‘While the performance of Rose Marie was being played to a packed house at Drury Lane, Mlle. Regine Flory, a French revue actress and dancer, shot and killed herself in the manager’s office at the theatre. It is said the tragedy occurred in the presence of Sir Alfred Butt and another man, a friend of the actress, while Mlle. Flory was having an interview with Sir Alfred over some business connected with theatrical employment. The dead woman was only 32 years of age and had appeared in various West-End shows at the Palace, Gaiety, etc. her last engagement in London was in 1917 and, it appeared, she was very desirous of again starring in a musical show. Two years ago she attempted to drown herself in the seine, and had been in ill health for some time.’
(The Vaudeville New and New York Star, New York, Friday, 9 July 1926, p. 6b)

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George Cooke as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of the farce, An Object of Interest, Royal Olympic Theatre, London, 3 January 1859

April 12, 2014

George Cooke (1807-1863), English actor, as Barney O’Larrigan in a revival of J.H. Stocqueler‘s popular farce, An Object of Interest, at the Royal Olympic Theatre, London, on 3 January 1859. An Object of Interest was first performed at the Lyceum Theatre, London, on 14 July 1845, and Cooke himself had already appeared in it on tour under James Rogers’s management in 1856.
(carte de visite photo: Camille Silvy, London, probably 1859)

George Boughey Cooke was born in Manchester on 7 March 1807. According to the Theatrical Times, he was ‘in every sense of the word, a consummate artist. Free from buffoonery or stage conventionality, his reading and manner is rich, racy, and humorous … [and] his voice is peculiarly pleasing.’ (London, Saturday, 23 September 1848, pp. 376-377). He was married in 1840 to Elizabeth Strutt (1803/04-1877), a music teacher and sister of the well-known tragedian Mr Stuart (Thomas Strutt, 1802/03-1878), who retired in 1855. Cooke died by his own hand on 5 March 1863 at his house, 51 Cambridge Street, Pimlico, London.

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‘SHREWSBURY. – Theatre Royal… . The season closed here on Friday last [19 December 1856] … The entertainments concluded with the farce of – An Object of Interest, in which Miss Burdett, as Fanny Gribbles, introducing mock tragedy, kept the audience in continual roars of laughter. Mr. Cooke, as Barney O’Larrigan, was also very successful. Mr. James Rogers, who was honoured with a crowded and fashionable attendance, addressed his patrons in a brief and eloquent manner, and was warmly received, all parties leaving the theatre well pleased with this gentleman’s respectable and honourable management.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 28 December 1856, p. 13b)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand, on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time from a drospical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic theatre, which his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public. His impersonation of the old sailor in the drama of the Lighthouse, and many similar sketches of character will long be remembered by playgoers.’ (The Daily News, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 7d)

‘SUICIDE OF MR. GEORGE COOKE, THE COMEDIAN. – We regret to have to state that this much respected member of the theatrical profession died by his own hand on Thursday morning. He had been suffering for some time form dropsical disease, the pain of which probably caused a fit of temporary insanity, and he cut his throat. He had long been an actor of old men at the Olympic Theatre, where his genial natural acting made him a great favourite with the public.’
(The Standard, London, Saturday, 7 March 1863, p. 6d)

‘Death of Mr. George Cooke.
‘A painful sensation on Thursday morning was created in theatrical circles by the intelligence that Mr. George Cooke, the favourite comedian of the Olympic Theatre, had destroyed himself under the pressure of a fit of insanity, arising, as it is believed, from long-continued illness of a serious nature. As a genial actor Mr. George Cook had for the last fifteen years occupied a high position at the Strand and Olympic Theatres, and his death under the above deplorable circumstances will be deeply regretted both by the public and his professional brethren.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 8 March 1863, p. 11b)

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May Etheridge about 1912, later Duchess of Leinster

November 2, 2013

May Etheridge (1892-1935), English chorus girl
(photo: unknown, possibly Elwin Neame, London, circa 1912)

May Etheridge (née May Juanita Etheridge) was first seen on the stage in the chorus of The New Aladdin, an extravaganza, at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 29 September 1906. She then transferred to the Aldwych Theatre under the management of Seymour Hicks before taking the part of Ko-Giku, a geisha, in The Mousmé, a musical play with music by Lionel Monckton and Howard Talbot, which was produced by Robert Courtneidge at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, on 9 September 1911. Her final official part was in the small role of Ursula in Princess Caprice, a comedy with music by Leo Fall, produced at the same theatre on 11 May 1912. It is believed, however, that she appeared in a small uncredited part in the musical comedy, Betty at Daly’s Theatre, London, during 1915.

By then, however, on 12 June 1913 at Wandsworth Registrar’s Office, near London, May Etheridge married Lord Edward FitzGerald (1892-1976), later 7th Duke of Leinster. They separated in 1922 and divorced in 1930. He was subsequently married three more times (including in 1946 to the former actress, Denise Orme) and committed suicide on 8 March 1976.

‘A Duchess Bound Over.
‘LONDON, April 19 [1930]. – Charged with having attempted to commit suicide, the Duchess of Leinster, formerly May Etheridge, a musical comedy star [sic], who was found unconscious on April 1 [1930] in a gas-filled room at a Brixton boarding house, was bound over to-day to be of good behaviour for two years, in her own recognisances of £50 and two sureties for a like amount.’
(The West Australian, Perth, Tuesday, 22 April 1930, p. 15b)

The Duchess, who eventually changed her name to May Murray, died at her home at Saltdean, near Brighton, Sussex on 11 February 1935; the inquest returned a verdict of death by misadventure following an accidental overdose of narcotics taken to induce sleep.

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Moonshee Shaikii

March 25, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Moonshee Shaikii Gheesa (1853?-1888), Indian snake-charmer and conjuror
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, circa 1879)

Aberdeen
‘M’FARLAND’S MUSIC HALL. – This popular place of amusement opens this week with a pretty strong company, the most exceptional feature in which is the performance of a Hindoo snake-charmer, Gheesa. This sort of thing seemed quite new to the audience, and appeared to take very well. The snakes, albeit a little sluggish, were not bad specimens of their race, and their susceptibility to the power of music was watched with a great degree of interest.’
(The Aberdeen Weekly Journal, Aberdeen, Scotland, Tuesday, 31 December 1878, p. 2h)

Aberdeen
‘M’FARLAND’S MUSIC HALL. – The main attraction for the New Year holidays is found in the excellent characteristic singing and neat and nimble dancing of Miss Fannie Florence, who fairly took the audience by surprise. She dresses with charming taste. Mounskie Shaikh Gheesa, the snake-charmer and juggler, is a novelty. Mr Will Mitchison is deservedly successful in comic songs and pipe-playing. Miss Blanche Reynolds is an attractive serio-comic; and Mr. Fred D. Harris is a smart and taking character entertainer, but some of his songs might with propriety be toned down, or altogether omitted.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 5 January 1879, p. 5a)

‘WELDONS CIRCUS. WILL SHORTLY CLOSE.
LAST WEEK BUT TWO.
HAMILTONS DELIGHTFUL EXCURSIONS.
The Splendid Authentic and artistic Scenes, Brilliant and Novel Effects, are received at Each Representation with acclamations of Delight and Wonder. Visited by nearly 50,000 persons, including the Elite of the City.
IMPORTANT NOTICE.
Messrs. HAMILTON beg to announce THE REAL and ONLY HINDOO SNAKE-CHARMER in this country. Mr. S. GHEESA, from Lucknow, will appear with his Live Cobra Snakes, and also give his WONDERFUL INDIAN ILLUSIONS in the Grand Kaffinett.
The RUSSIAN SKATERS and Mr. LOUIS LINDSAY will appear at every representation.
CICERONE, with Songs. Mr SERRONI.
Evenings at Eight; Saturday Evenings at half-past Seven.
GRAND ILLUMINATED DAY EXHIBITIONS on
SATURDAYS at Three, equal to the Evening
Representations.
Reserved Seats, 2s.; Second, 1s.; Third, 6d.
Tickets at Woods.’
(The Scotsman, Edinburgh, Saturday, 10 May 1879, p. 1g, advertisement)

‘Will Shortly be Disengaged, after Fourteen Months’ Engagement with Mr Hamilton.
‘MOONSHEE SHAIKII GHEESA, the Only Hindoo conjuror in England, who had the honour of appearing before their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales and a brilliant assemblage of the Nobility at Lord H. Alfred Paget’s, 1st of May, 1877; also on a second occasion, by special command of the Empress Eugenie and the late Prince Imperial, with brilliant assemblage of Nobility, at Camden House, Chislehurst, 14th June. Third occasion, 22d July, appearing again before their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, in presence of every Member of the Crown and the other Royal Family. H.R.H. the Princes of Wales complimented M.S. Gheesa for his extraordinary Illusions. Six Months at the Royal Aquarium, Two Months Crystal Palace as a Hindoo conjuror and Snake Charmer. Address, CONCERT HALL, LORD NELSON-STREET, LIVERPOOL.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 29 February 1880, p. 17d)

‘SATURDAY EVENING CONCERTS. – The delightful scenic entertainments of Mr. Hamilton continue to attract large audiences to the Concert Hall, Lord Nelson-street, nightly. The Turkish and Russian scenes in which the Indian conjuror, Gheesa, displays his wonderful skill as an illusionist, and the Brothers Pelikoff their clever and amusing feats in skating, form in themselves an entertainment of great merit; but the interest attached to the grand scenery of Zululand, and the spirited and graphically depicted battles in which our troops were so lately engaged, render this diorama most attractive to young and old. The entertainment will be presented this evening at the Monday Evening Concerts, and every evening during the week, and also on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Mr. Hamilton will finally close his dioramic entertainments on the 22nd March.’
(Liverpool Mercury, Liverpool, England, Monday, 8 March 1880, p. 6f)

‘OUTRAGE BY AN HINDOO conjuror.
‘A HINDOO conjuror, whose name on the calendar was given as Munshee Sheikh Gheesa, thirty-two, and described as of imperfect education, was on Saturday arraigned at the Manchester Assizes, before Mr. Justice Smith, on an indictment of having attempted to kill his wife by cutting her with a razor. The prosecutrix, Alice Ann Gheesa, was married to the prisoner some four years ago, and the parties up to July last lives in London, when with two children, a boy and a girl, they removed to Morecambe, near Lancaster, where the prisoner found employment in his calling of conjuror with Hamilton’s diorama. At the termination of the engagement in the early part of July, the prosecutrix suggested that her husband should go to London and leave her behind with her father and mother, respectable people, who resided at the small hamlet of Torreshogie, near Morecambe. This arrangement did not please the prisoner, who on July 12th, after having packed up his things, repaired to his mother-in-law’s house and said to his wife, whom he found alone, that now he had a chance and would take it. He then made a furious attack upon the woman with a razor, which he pulled from his breast pocket, inflicting dreadful injuries upon her face, temple, wrists, hands, and shoulders. His mother-in-law returning unexpectedly, he directed his attack upon her and cut her also about the shoulders. His wife took refuge in a green adjoining the house, and letting the mother-in-law go he followed and renewed his attack upon his first victim, only desisting when the woman’s cries attracted the attention of a neighbouring blacksmith. The prisoner then coolly washed his hands, and the weapon which he had used, in a tub of water, and said he would give himself up to the police, but he was secured and conveyed to the nearest police-station. For the defence it was urged that the accused had been greatly aggravated by his wife’s behaviour, and that some words having passed between them that morning the prisoner had used the razor, with which he had been going to shave himself, in an excess of temper, having no intention of taking his wife’s life. The jury brought in a verdict on the minor count of causing grievous bodily harm, and the learned judge sentenced the accused to ten years’ penal servitude.’
(The Illustrated Police News, London, Saturday, 8 November 1884, p. 3d)

‘An Indian convict name Munshee Sheik Gheesa, aged 35, has committed suicide in Chatham Prison by hanging himself to the bar of a closet window by his braces. He was a native conjuror, and was sentenced to ten years’ penal servitude at Manchester Assizes in 1884, for unlawfully wounding.’
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, England, Saturday, 14 January 1888, p. 7c)