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Deane L. Root

[Klasen, Gertrud Alexandra Dagmar Lawrence ]

(b London, July 4, 1898; d New York, Sept 6, 1952). English actress, singer and dancer. She was a child performer in pantomime and musicals and from 1916 appeared in revue in London. She introduced ‘Parisian Pierrot’ by her lifelong friend Noël Coward in his revue London Calling (1923), and her New York début in the London show André Charlot’s Revue of 1924 (in which she sang ‘Limehouse Blues’) brought her immediately to the attention of leading American songwriters; her first successful song was You were meant for me by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake. George and Ira Gershwin wrote the musicals Oh, Kay! (1926, including ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’) and Treasure Girl (1928) for her. Lawrence also performed spoken drama in both England and the USA, notably Private Lives (1930) with Noël Coward, but in 1933 appeared on Broadway in Porter’s ...

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Deane L. Root

(Virginia)

(b Weatherford, TX, Dec 1, 1913; d Rancho Mirage, CA, Nov 3, 1990). American actress, singer and dancer. Her mother was a violinist. Martin taught social and stage dance, sang on radio and in films, and achieved fame in 1938 performing ‘My heart belongs to daddy’ in Cole Porter’s Leave it to me, a song with which she remained associated throughout her career. Her first film role was in The Great Victor Herbert (1939) and her later films included Birth of the Blues (1941) and Night and Day (1946). She performed in Broadway musicals, beginning with Weill’s One Touch of Venus (1943, including the song ‘That’s him’). Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II wrote South Pacific (1949) for her and the bass Ezio Pinza; Rodgers recalled (in his autobiography, Musical Stages, 1975) that Martin, concerned about their unequal voices, was promised no duets: moreover, ‘her songs were colloquial, direct, sunny and youthful, whereas his were sophisticated, romantic, even philosophical’ in lyrics and music. It was Martin who suggested adapting the film ...

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William A. Everett and Lee Snook

(May )

(b Los Angeles, Mar 12, 1946). American actress, singer and dancer, the daughter of Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli. She made her film début while still a toddler in the Judy Garland vehicle In the Good Old Summertime (1949). In her late teens she began to establish herself as a singer and dancer in nightclubs and on stage, and her New York début was as Ethel Hofflinger in the off-Broadway Best Foot Forward (1963). She toured as Lili in Carnival! (1964) before playing her Tony-winning title role in Flora, the Red Menace (1965). She also starred in a one-woman show Liza (1974) and substituted for Gwen Verdon in Chicago (1975). With her Academy Award-winning film role as Sally Bowles in Cabaret (1972), she solidified her reputation as an interpreter of the work of Kander and Ebb, whose stage musical ...

Article

William Brooks

(b Marbleton, PQ, Aug 1, 1878; d Hollywood, CA, Jan 11, 1947). American singer and dancer of Canadian birth. Her family moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts, in the early 1880s, where she played the child leads in stock companies from the age of eight. In 1901 she was performing in My Lady when an altercation with a chorus girl made her a celebrity. Two years later she had more substantial roles in The Office Boy and The Chaperones, and in 1904 she achieved stardom, playing the leading role with her own company in The Sambo Girl. Thereafter her career was primarily in vaudeville, where routines were tailored to her unique blend of humour and audacity. She vaunted her theme song I don’t care (by Lennox and Sutton, 1905), scandalized the prudish with an outrageous version of Salome’s dance, and fought uproariously and continually with managers, critics and other performers. In the 1910s she was the highest-paid vaudeville artist in America, and her career continued unabated until she was weakened by illness in the late 1920s. Her substantial fortune was lost in the great crash of ...