Dame Cicely Courtneidge, born 120 years ago
Facts about Dame Cicely:
- She married the actor and dancer Jack Hulbert (who became her professional as well as personal partner) in 1916, a relationship that lasted until his death 62 years later.
- Her first and most enduring career was on the stage; she began in 1901 as a child in her father's musical comedies, and one of her final appearances was at a Silver Jubilee gala in 1977 alongside Ingrid Bergman, Wendy Hiller, Flora Robson and Diana Rigg.
- Her most-remembered stage appearance was in Ivor Novello's Gay's The Word in the 1950s.
- She made numerous movies - at the beginning taking mediocre roles just to pay off debts - but ended up a much in demand character actress; in 1962, in The L-Shaped Room she played an elderly lesbian, living in a drab London flat with her cat.
- Dame Cicely was the first to play the "Mum" character in the classic TV comedy On the Buses, a part later more associated with Doris Hare.
She was indeed one of Britain's finest variety artistes...
Dame Esmerelda Cicely Courtneidge DBE (1st April 1893 – 26th April 1980)