- 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 ...