Elsie Randolph (1904 - 1982)

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About Elsie Randolph

<The Times October 21, 1982>

<MISS ELSIE RANDOLPH>

Miss Elsie Randolph, the actress, who died on October 15, aged 77, was one of the most ebullient and likeable musical comediennes between the wars.

She appeared particularly with Jack Buchanan in seven or eight productions that began when Buchanan entered actor-management and she was a small-part player with a spontaneous sense of fun. She had a very agreeable singing voice, she was a dancer, and she timed her comedy precisely, assets valuable in entertainments with such names as "Stand Up and Sing" and "This'll Make You Whistle", that were fashionable on West End nights round Leicester Square and Cambridge Circus.

Born in London on December 9, 1904 and going out when she was 12 as a child actress in the provinces she reached London at 14, had various minor parts, and acted in "The Follies Cabaret" at the Queen's Hall, an unexpected address; and in March, 1923, at 18, took over that period personage the Flapper, in Buchanan's production of "Battling Butler."

Within a year she was in "Toni" at the old Shaftesbury; during March, 1925, she created a predatory and unprepossessing woman with the musical comedy name of Clematis Drew in an adaptation of "The New Clown", renamed "Boodle", at the Empire; and the autumn of 1926 bought the even more typical christening, Weenie Winters in the longer Hippodrome success of "Sunny".

Thenceforward she moved steadily and cheerfully through a series of musical comedies and reviews: "Peggy Ann" (Daly's); "That's a Good Girl" (Hippodrome); "Follow Through" (Dominion; with Leslie Henson); "The Co-Optimists of 1930" (Hippodrome); and in December 1930, the short-lived "Wonder Bar" for Andre Charlot, a production with a cast of 60 for which the Savoy Theatre was transformed into a smart night club and its orchestra pit covered.

Next she was Sue in more than 300 Hippodrome performances of Buchanan's "Stand Up and Sing" (1931); and at the same theatre (1934), Betty in "Mr Whittington". Names convey relatively little at this remove; but Elsie Randolph was always exhilarating and ready for a night's nonsense.

She was in Charlot's "Char-a-Bang!" (Vaudeville 1935); played Bobbie in "This'll Make You Whistle" with Buchanan (Palace, 1936); Aladdin in an Adelphi pantomime (1937); and in 1938 had her first exacting straight part in an acclaimed farce, "Room for Two" (Comedy). Here she was a wife on holiday in Venice, with her lover masquerading as a lady's maid.

A cluster of wartime parts included Mrs Mott with a stage and matrimonial cast in Lesley Storm's "Great Day" (Playhouse 1945). About the arrival of Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt (unseen) to inspect a Women's Institute in Kent; it had to be taken off when, during its third week, President Roosevelt died.

Next, in "Is Your Honeymoon Really Necessary" (Duke of York's) she romped with Ralph Lynn for more than a year of a very long run.

Later she acted in Patricia Hollender's grave play "The Lost Generation" (Garrick), and in two plays with Arthur Askey at Bournemouth in 1965.

Among her films were two Hippodrome Musicals from the 1930s, and in 1972 "Frenzy". She appeared in televisions "Z Cars".

She was married to Vernon Page.

END

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Elsie Randolph's Timeline

1904
December 9, 1904
1982
October 15, 1982
Age 77
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