Beatrice Lillie

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Beatrice Gladys Peel (Lillie)

Hebrew: ביאטריס גלדיס לילי
Also Known As: "Bea"
Birthdate: (94)
Death: January 20, 1989 (94)
Immediate Family:

Daughter of John Lillie and Lucy Anne Lillie
Wife of Sir Robert Peel, 5th Baronet
Mother of Sir Robert Peel, 6th Baronet

Managed by: Michael Lawrence Rhodes
Last Updated:

About Beatrice Lillie

Beatrice Gladys "Bea" Lillie (May 29, 1894 – January 20, 1989) was an actress and comedic performer. Following her 1920 marriage to Sir Robert Peel in England, she was known in private life as Lady Peel. Sheridan Morley noted in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography that "Lillie's great talents were the arched eyebrow, the curled lip, the fluttering eyelid, the tilted chin, the ability to suggest, even in apparently innocent material, the possible double entendre".

Filmography, Stage appearances

Beatrice Lillie From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (June 2012) Beatrice Lillie BeatriceLillieByYousufKarsh.jpg Beatrice Lillie, as photographed by Yousuf Karsh, 1948. Birth name Beatrice Gladys Lillie Born May 29, 1894 Toronto, Ontario, Canada Died January 20, 1989 (aged 94) Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England Medium Stage, motion pictures Beatrice Gladys "Bea" Lillie (May 29, 1894 – January 20, 1989) was a Canadian-born British actress, singer and comedic performer.

She began to perform as a child with her mother and sister. She made her West End debut in the 1914 and soon gained notice in revues and light comedies, becoming known for her parodies of old-fashioned, flowery performing styles and absurd songs and sketches. She debuted in New York in 1924 and two years later starred in her first film, continuing to perform in both the US and UK. She was associated with the works of Noël Coward and Cole Porter. During World War II, Lillie was an inveterate entertainer of the troops. She won a Tony Award in 1953 for her revue An Evening With Beatrice Lillie.

Contents [hide] 1 Early career 2 Marriage and offspring 3 Retirement 4 Filmography 5 Stage appearances 6 Tony Awards 7 Radio 8 Television 9 References 10 Sources 11 External links Early career[edit] Lillie was born in Toronto to John Lillie and wife Lucie-Ann Shaw. Her father had been a British Army officer in India and later was a Canadian government official. Her mother was a concert singer. Beatrice performed in other Ontario towns as part of a family trio with her mother and older sister, Muriel. Eventually, her mother, Lucie, took the girls to London, England where she made her West End debut in the 1914 Not Likely. She was noted primarily for her stage work in revues, especially those staged by André Charlot, and light comedies, and was frequently paired with Gertrude Lawrence, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley.[citation needed]

In her revues, she utilized sketches, songs, and parody that won her lavish praise from the New York Times after her 1924 New York debut. In some of her best known bits, she would solemnly parody the flowery performing style of earlier decades, mining such songs as "There are Fairies at the Bottom of our Garden" and "Mother Told Me So" for every double entendre, while other numbers ("Get Yourself a Geisha" and "Snoops the Lawyer", for example) showcased her exquisite sense of the absurd. Her performing in such comedy routines as "One Dozen Double Damask Dinner Napkins", (in which an increasingly flummoxed matron attempts to purchase said napkins) earned her the frequently used sobriquet of "Funniest Woman in the World". She never performed the "Dinner Napkins" routine in Britain, because British audiences had already seen it performed by the Australian-born English revue performer Cicely Courtneidge, for whom it was written.[citation needed]

Scene from Oh Joy!, showing Tom Powers (as George Budd) with Lillie (as Jackie Sampson), London, 1919 In 1926 she returned to New York city to perform. While there, she starred in her first film, Exit Smiling, opposite fellow Canadian Jack Pickford, the scandal-scarred younger brother of Mary Pickford. From then until the approach of World War II, Lillie repeatedly crisscrossed the Atlantic to perform on both continents. She was long associated with the works of Noël Coward (giving, for instance, the first ever public performance of "Mad Dogs and Englishmen"), though Cole Porter is among those who also wrote songs for her. She made few appearances on film, appearing in a cameo role as a revivalist in Around the World in Eighty Days and as "Mrs. Meers" (a white slaver) in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

She won a Tony Award in 1953 for her revue An Evening With Beatrice Lillie and made her final stage appearance as Madame Arcati in High Spirits, the musical version of Coward's Blithe Spirit. In 1954 she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre.[citation needed]

Throughout her career as a revue performer, Lillie's contracts almost invariably stipulated that she would not make her first entrance onstage until at least half an hour into the show; by that point, every other act in the revue had made its first appearance and the audience would be keenly awaiting the entrance of Miss Lillie, the star of the evening.[citation needed]

After seeing An Evening with Beatrice Lillie, critic Ronald Barker wrote, "Other generations may have their Mistinguett and their Marie Lloyd. We have our Beatrice Lillie and seldom have we seen such a display of perfect talent."[citation needed] Sheridan Morley noted in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography that "Lillie's great talents were the arched eyebrow, the curled lip, the fluttering eyelid, the tilted chin, the ability to suggest, even in apparently innocent material, the possible double entendre".[1]

Marriage and offspring[edit] She was married, on January 20, 1920, at the church of St. Paul, Drayton Bassett, Fazeley, Staffordshire, to Sir Robert Peel, 5th Baronet.[2] Following her 1920 marriage to Sir Robert Peel in England, she was known in private life as Lady Peel. She eventually separated from her husband, but the couple never divorced. He died in 1934. Their only child, Sir Robert Peel, 6th Baronet, was killed in action aboard HMS Tenedos (H04) in Colombo Harbour, Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) in 1942.

During World War II, Lillie was an inveterate entertainer of the troops. Before she went on stage one day, she learned her son was killed in action. She refused to postpone the performance saying "I'll cry tomorrow." In 1948, while touring in the show Inside USA, she met singer/actor John Philip Huck, almost three decades younger, who became her friend and companion, and she boosted his career. However, Huck proved to be possessive.

Retirement[edit] Lillie retired from the stage due to Alzheimer's disease. In interviews, Julie Andrews remembered that Lillie, who was cast in the role of Mrs. Meers in Thoroughly Modern Millie (filmed in 1966, and released in the spring of 1967), had to be prompted through her lines and was often confused on set. Millie was Lillie's final film.

Beatrice Lillie died on January 20, 1989, which was also the date of her wedding anniversary, at Henley-on-Thames. Huck died of a heart attack 31 hours later, and is interred next to her in the Peel family estate's cemetery near Peel Fold, Blackburn.[citation needed]

For her contributions to film, Beatrice Lillie has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6404 Hollywood Blvd. Her portrait, painted by Neysa McMein about 1948 or 1949, is in the collection of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in England.[3]

Filmography[edit] Features:

Exit Smiling (1926) The Show of Shows (1929) Are You There? (1930) Dr. Rhythm (1938) On Approval (1944) Around the World in 80 Days (1956) as London revivalist leader Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) Short Subjects:

Beatrice Lillie (1929) Beatrice Lillie and Her Boyfriends (1930) Vitaphone Varieties short released May 15, 1930 Broadway Highlights No. 1 (1935) Broadway Highlights No. 2 (1935) Stage appearances[edit] Not Likely (1914) (London) 5064 Gerrard (1915) (London) Samples (1916) (London) Some (1916) (London) Cheep (1917) (London) Tabs (1918) (London) Bran Pie (1919) (London) Oh, Joy! (1919) (London) Now and Then (1921) (London) Pot Luck (1921) (London) The Nine O'Clock Revue (1922) (London) Andre Charlot's Revue of 1924 (1924) (Broadway) Andre Charlot's Revue of 1926 (1925) (Broadway and US national tour) Oh, Please (1926) (Broadway) She's My Baby (1928) (Broadway) This Year of Grace (1928) (Broadway) Charlot's Masquerade (1930) (London) The Third Little Show (1931) (Broadway) Too True to Be Good (1932) (Broadway) Walk a Little Faster (1932) (Broadway) Please (1933) (London) At Home Abroad (1935) (Broadway) The Show Is On (1936) (Broadway) Happy Returns (1938) (London) Set to Music (1939) (Broadway) All Clear (1939) (London) Big Top (1942) (London) Seven Lively Arts (1944) (Broadway) Better Late (1946) (London) Inside U.S.A. (1948) (Broadway) An Evening With Beatrice Lillie (1952) (Broadway and London) Ziegfeld Follies of 1957 (1957) (Broadway) Auntie Mame (1958) (replacement for Greer Garson) (Broadway and London) A Late Evening with Beatrice Lillie (1960) (Edinburgh Festival) High Spirits (1964) (Broadway) Tony Awards[edit] 1953 : Special Award – An Evening With Beatrice Lillie (winner) 1958 : Best Leading Actress in a Musical – Ziegfeld Follies of 1957 (nominee) 1964 : Best Leading Actress in a Musical – High Spirits (nominee) Radio[edit] She was the star of three radio programs:

The Beatrice Lillie Show on NBC January 4-June 28, 1935 The Flying Red Horse Tavern on CBS February 7-May 22, 1936 Broadway Merry-Go-Round on the Blue Network January 6-July 28, 1937[4] Television[edit] 1950 She also appeared on The Star Spangled Revue with Bob Hope (see [1]). This includes the "One Dozen Double Damask Dinner Napkins" sketch. References[edit] Jump up ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 363. ISBN 1-84854-195-3. Jump up ^ Civil Registration event: Marriage; Name: Lillie, Beatrice G.; Registration District: Tamworth; County: Staffordshire; Year of Registration: 1920; Quarter of Registration: Jan-Feb-Mar; Spouse's last name: Peel; Volume No:6B/Page No: 773 Jump up ^ "Beatrice Lillie (1898–1989)". Your Paintings. BBC. Retrieved April 3, 2015. Jump up ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P. 76. Sources[edit] Lillie, Beatrice, with John Philip Huck and James Brough, Every Other Inch a Lady (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1972). External links[edit] Portal icon Biography portal Beatrice Lillie at the Internet Broadway Database Beatrice Lillie at the Internet Movie Database Records in the Theatre Archive at the University of Bristol of stage performances by Beatrice Lillie Fan video for the song I Hate Spring on YouTube Beatrice Lillie papers, 1911-1995, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts Beatrice Lillie at Find a Grave External images

Neysa McMein, Neysa McMein, Beatrice Lillie (1898–1989), c. 1948–1949, Central School of Speech & Drama

Awards and achievements Preceded by Helen Hayes Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago 1954 Succeeded by Deborah Kerr Authority control WorldCat VIAF: 1519459 LCCN: n87119618 ISNI: 0000 0001 1872 251X GND: 118952293 BNF: cb165518141 (data) MusicBrainz: 36900018-8e12-47c4-83dd-bc7659ee00c7 Categories: 1894 births1989 deathsActresses from TorontoCanadian silent film actressesCanadian film actressesCanadian musical theatre actressesCanadian stage actressesDeaths from Alzheimer's diseaseDisease-related deaths in EnglandDonaldson Award winnersVaudeville performersTony Award winners20th-century Canadian actresses20th-century Canadian singers

Beatrice Lillie Biography Showing all 22 items Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (4) Overview (5) Date of Birth 29 May 1894, Cobourg, Ontario, Canada Date of Death 20 January 1989, Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, England, UK (Alzheimer's disease) Birth Name Beatrice Gladys Lillie Nickname Bea Height 5' 4" (1.63 m) Mini Bio (1) Dubbed "the funniest woman in the world", comedienne Beatrice Lillie was born the daughter of a Canadian government official and grew up in Toronto. She sang in a family trio act with her mother, Lucy, and her piano-playing older sister, Muriel. Times were hard and the ambitious mother eventually took the girls to England to test the waters. In 1914, Bea made her solo debut in London's West End and was an immediate hit with audiences. A valuable marquee player as a droll revue and stage artiste, she skillfully interwove sketches, songs and monologues with parody and witty satire. In 1924, she returned to America and was an instant success on Broadway, thus becoming the toast of two continents. For the next decade, she worked with the top stage headliners of her day, including Gertrude Lawrence, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley. Noel Coward and Cole Porter wrote songs and even shows for her. A top radio and comedy recording artist to boot, Bea's success in films was surprisingly limited, although she did achieve some recognition in such productions as Exit Smiling (1926) and Dr. Rhythm (1938). During the Second World War, Bea became a favourite performer with the troops and, in her post-war years, toured with her own show "An Evening with Beatrice Lillie". Her rather eccentric persona worked beautifully on Broadway and, in 1958, she replaced Rosalind Russell in "Auntie Mame". In 1964, she took on the role of "Madame Arcati" in the musical version of "Blithe Spirit", entitled "High Spirits". This was to be her last staged musical. Sadly, her style grew passé and outdated in the Vietnam era, and she quickly faded from view after a movie appearance in Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). At this point, she had already begun to show early signs of Alzheimer's disease, although she managed to publish her biography in 1973. A year later, Bea suffered the first of two strokes and lived the next decade and a half in virtual seclusion. She died in 1989 at age 94. - IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh /

Spouse (1) Sir Robert Peel (1920 - 1934) (his death) (1 child) Trade Mark (1) String of pearls and a long cigarette holder Trivia (10) Her son, who had enlisted in the Royal Navy, was killed in 1942 during a Japanese air raid on the port of Colombo, Ceylon. She won a Tony in 1953: "An Evening With Beatrice Lillie" Made her final stage appearance as Madame Arcati in "High Spirits" the musical version of Blithe Spirit. It was during the show that she began experiencing symptoms of Alzheimers Disease. Bea married Robert Peel in 1920, the extravagant heir of Lord Peel. When her father-in-law died in the mid-20s, she and Robert became Lord and Lady Peel. When husband Robert died of peritonitis in 1934, he left behind huge debts which forced Bea to continue working non-stop for years to come. In 1948, at age 54, she met singer/actor John Philip Huck, 28 years her junior. Despite their huge age difference, he became her manager and her companion for the rest of her life. Huck died of a heart attack the day after Bea passed away. They were buried side by side near her mother and sister in a small cemetery near Peel Fold. Close intimate friends with such vast personalities as Noel Coward, George Bernard Shaw, Charles Chaplin and Sir Winston Churchill. Won a Special Tony Award in 1953 for her show, "An Evening With Beatrice Lillie." She was also twice nominated for the Best Actress (Musical) Tony: in 1958 for "Ziegfeld Follies," and in 1964 for "High Spirits." Biography in: "American National Biography". Supplement 1, pp. 361-363 New York: Oxford University Press, 2002. Profiled in the book, "Funny Ladies", by Stephen M. Silverman. According to Axel Madsen in "The Sewing Circle", she was considered for the role of "The Good Witch" in Ha-Kossem M'Eretz Ootz (1939) in 1936, but was thought too funny for the role. Personal Quotes (4) Beatrice Lillie was having her hair coiffed at Elizabeth Arden when the wife of the founder of the Armour meat-packing company entered, noticed her, and complained loudly that she didn't realize there would be chorus girls present or she would not have come. Soon thereafter, as Lillie was leaving and saying goodbye to the manageress in the waiting room, she said, "You may tell the butcher's wife that Lady Peel has finished." I was born because my mother needed a fourth for meals. [To a pigeon who flew into her apartment and perched on a nearby chair] Any messages? [In answer to an interviewer's question 'Miss Lillie, what lies at the bottom of your art?'] There are fairies at the bottom of my art.

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Beatrice Lillie's Timeline

May 29, 1894
Age 25
January 20, 1989
Age 94