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Allen, William Ernest (Chesney) (1894–1982), comedian and singer, was born at 7 Hamballa Road, Battersea, London, on 5 April 1894, the son of Edwin Allen, a prosperous builder, and his wife, Louisa, née Cridland. Allen's first employment on leaving school was as a solicitor's clerk. In 1912, at the age of eighteen, he made his début as an actor in repertory at the ...

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Amis, John Preston (1922–2013), music critic and broadcaster, was born on 17 June 1922 in a nursing home at 80 Thurlow Park Road, Dulwich, London, the younger child of James Preston Amis (1886–1980) and his wife, Florence Mary, née Weight (1890–1963). At the time of his birth registration the family lived at ...

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See Arne family

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(Una) Winifred Atwell (c. 1913–1983) by unknown photographer, 1957 collection of Stephen Bourne

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Atwell, (Una) Winifred (c. 1913–1983), pianist and entertainer, was born on 27 April c.1913 in Jubilee Street, Tunapuna, near Port of Spain, Trinidad, the only child of a chemist, Frederick Monroe Atwell (d. 1958), and a district nurse, Sarah Elizabeth (...

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Atwell, (Una) Winifred (c. 1913–1983)

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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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Bannister, Charles (bap. 1741, d. 1804), actor and singer, was baptized at some time between May and October 1741 in Newland, Gloucestershire, the son of John Bannister and his wife, Rebecca Powell. He was brought up in Deptford, where his father worked in the victualling office for the ...

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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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Bard, Wilkie [real name William August Smith] (1874–1944), music-hall performer, was born on 19 March 1874 at 19 Alderley Street, Hulme, Manchester, son of William Herbert Smith, a bookkeeper, and his wife, Marie Stetzer. He was educated in Manchester, first worked there in a cotton spinner's warehouse, and became well known as a concert singer, performing at such local venues as the ...

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Barrington, Rutland [real name George Rutland Barrington Fleet] (1853–1922), actor and singer, was born at Penge, Surrey, on 15 January 1853. He was the fourth son of John George Fleet, a wholesale sugar dealer in Fenchurch Street, London, and his wife, Esther...

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Beard, John (1716/17–1791), actor and singer, of unknown parentage and place of birth, is first recorded as one of the children of the Chapel Royal. He was well educated in music under Bernard Gates, master of the children of the Chapel Royal from 1727 to 1757, and was also taught Latin, mathematics, rhetoric, and history. ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Berry, Edward (1706/7–1760), actor and singer, made his first recorded appearance on the London stage at Drury Lane on 6 February 1729 as Hobinol in Charles Johnson's The Village Opera. For five seasons Berry was employed as a singing actor, primarily in the new genre of ballad opera. Unsuited by his large, heavy build and low-pitched voice for romantic leads, he played character roles such as Squire Clodpole in ...

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Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph Bing (1902–1997) by Lotte Meitner-Graf © Lotte Meitner-Graf

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Bing, Sir Rudolf Franz Joseph (1902–1997), opera manager, was born in Vienna on 9 January 1902, the son of Ernst Hoenigsvald Bing, head of the Austro-Hungarian Steel and Iron Trust, and his wife, Stefanie. The youngest of four children, he left school at the age of sixteen. He trained his attractive light baritone voice, but did not consider becoming a professional. In 1919 he obtained a job with the Viennese booksellers ...

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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

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