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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Ayliff, Mrs (fl. 1692–1696), singer and actress, was a leading stage and concert soprano but her forename, age, and marital status are unknown. She appears to have made her début in the première of Purcell's The Fairy Queen at Dorset Garden Theatre in May 1692, singing as a fairy ...

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Baddeley [née Snow], Sophia (1745?–1786), actress and singer, was born, according to her friend and biographer Elizabeth Steele, in the parish of St Margaret, Westminster, in 1745, the daughter of the trumpeter Valentine Snow (d. 1770). Her baptism is not recorded in the register of ...

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Sophia Baddeley (1745?–1786) by Johan Zoffany [as Fanny Sterling, with Robert Baddeley (right) as Canton and Thomas King (centre) as Lord Ogleby, in The Clandestine Marriage by George Coleman the elder and David Garrick] Garrick Club; the art archive

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Elizabeth Bannister (1757–1849) by John Russell, 1799 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bannister [née Harper], Elizabeth (1757–1849), actress and singer, was, according to the encomium in the Thespian Magazine (1793), the daughter of a Mrs Harpur, 'now a mantua-maker [dressmaker] at Bath', who, having made a marriage disapproved of by her family, educated her daughter perforce 'to her business' (...

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Black, Cilla [real name Priscilla White] (1943–2015), singer and television presenter, was born on 27 May 1943 at 380 Scotland Road, Liverpool, the daughter of John Patrick White (1904–1971), dock labourer, and his wife, Priscilla, née Blythen (1911–1996...

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Cilla Black (1943–2015), by Terry O'Neill, 1990s

© Iconic Images/Getty Images

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Bracegirdle, Anne (bap. 1671, d. 1748), actress and singer, was born in Northamptonshire, the third surviving daughter of Martha, née Furniss, and Justinian Bracegirdle, 'Coachman, Coachmaker or Letter-out of Coaches', according to her admirer Anthony Aston (Aston, 8). Family wills reveal that surviving siblings were named ...

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Anne Bracegirdle (bap. 1671, d. 1748) by William Vincent [as Semernia, the Indian queen, in The Widow Ranter by Aphra Behn] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Butler, Charlotte (fl. 1674–1693), actress and singer, was said to have been 'the Daughter of a decay'd Knight' and recommended to the stage by Charles II, by whom she was named (Cibber, 97). The theatre prompter John Downes remembered that she joined the ...

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Campion, Mary Anne (c. 1687–1706), singer and dancer, was born of lowly parents, her father having possibly been a servant of William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire. She displayed a precocious talent on the stage; aged eleven, she was a member of Christopher Rich's...

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Ann Cargill (c. 1760–1784) by Johan Zoffany [as Miranda in The Tempest] © reserved

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Cargill [née Brown], Ann (c. 1760–1784), singer and actress, was the daughter of Edward Brown, a London coal merchant. She made her début as a child, singing Titania in George Colman's The Fairy Prince, with music by Arne (Covent Garden, 12 November 1771), and then played Sally, the naughty little sister, in ...

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Carleton, Billie [real name Florence Leonora Stewart] (1896–1918), actress and singer, was born on 4 September 1896 at Bernard Street, off Russell Square, Bloomsbury, London, the daughter of Margaret Stewart, chorus singer; her father is unknown. She was claimed to have both French and Irish antecedents....

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Ann Catley (1745–1789) by William Evans, pubd 1807 (after William Lawranson, in or before 1777) [as Euphrosyne in Comus, music by Thomas Arne] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Catley, Ann (1745–1789), singer and actress, was born in an alley off Tower Hill, London, the daughter of a washerwoman and a hackney coachman, Robert Catley. According to The Life and Memoirs of the Late Miss Ann Catley (1789–90) she was a pretty and sexually precocious girl who earned money singing at public houses and to officers at the ...

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Cibber [née Shore], Catherine (bap. 1669, d. 1734), singer and actress, was baptized on 24 October 1669 at St Bartholomew-the-Great, London, the daughter of Matthias Shore (d. 1700) and his wife, Ann (d. 1677). Matthias Shore became sergeant-trumpeter to the king in 1687 and was succeeded in the post by his sons ...

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Cibber [née Arne], Susannah Maria (1714–1766), actress and singer, was born on 14 February 1714 at 34 King Street, Covent Garden, London, the fourth child of the eight children of Thomas Arne (bap. 1682, d. 1736) [see under Arne family], an upholsterer and undertaker, and his wife, ...

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Susannah Maria Cibber (1714–1766) by Thomas Hudson, in or before 1749 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Josephine Collins (1887–1958) by Guttenberg [as Dolores in A Southern Maid by Adrian Ross (Arthur Reed Ropes)] © reserved