All biographies should be considered incomplete – with research ongoing.
Check the individual PDF pages for “Last Updated” citation details.
(aka The Modern Milo)
Posing, Living Statues act. [Born: Pansy Montague]
One of Australia’s most celebrated Living Stature performers, Pansy Montague first came to attention of the Australian public in the late 1890s as an actress with Dan Barry and Harry Cogill companies. After developing her La Milo act she presented it, possibly for the first time, at the Palace Garden’s Perth in January 1906. Initially wearing a tight-fitting stocking to avoid total nudity she later covered herself in alabaster whiting to create a marble effect. Her popularity led to a long line of engagements in England and America, and many complaints from church authorities.
Image Source: State Library of Victoria.
Cast as one of the babes in the Fullers pantomime Babes in the Wood, Stella Lamond later toured with the Sunbeam Pantomime Children for six years (billed as “woop woop girl”). After going solo in 1928 she joined Nat Phillips’ Whirligigs. After working with comedian Joe Lawman for almost a decade, Lamond and her second husband Max Reddy toured their own Follies company for some 15 years.
- More details
- Stella Lamond in Homicide : Clip 1 [YouTube]
- Stella Lamond in Homicide : Clip 2 [YouTube]
- Stella Lamond & Jim Davidson. “The Girl at the Ironing Board.” 1934 (mp3)
Music source: Frank Van Straten Tivoli Echoes (2003).
(1909-1977) Comedian, singer, pantomime dame.
Joe Lawman started out as a child clog dancer, and later worked for Clay’s Theatres before making his Tivoli debut in 1930. After playing Nat Phillips’ off-sider in the Whirligigs Co, he spent almost a decade touring with Stella Lamond. A popular Tivoli comedian and pantomime dame during the war years, Lawman and his second wife, Joy Robbins worked in the UK for ten years, beginning 1945.
- An expanded biography is due in early 2013.
ALF J. LAWRANCE
Alf. J. Lawrance wrote and/or collaborated on hundreds of songs between 1914 and the late 1930s. Many of these were included in pantomimes, revues, revusicals and follies and films. He first came to Australia in 1914 with his wife, singer Violet Carmen, with an act billed as Carmen and Lawrence. In the early to mid-1920s he partnered singer Nell Crane before going solo.
- An expanded biography is due in early 2013.
BERT LE BLANC
(1884-1974) American-born Hebrew comic, musical comedy actor, singer, revusical producer, film actor. [Born: Bertram Leon Cohen]
One of the pioneers of the Australian revusical, Bert Le Blanc and Jake Mack (as Ike and Morris) rivalled Nat Phillips and Roy Rene (Stiffy and Mo) in the 1910s and early 1920s. A favourite with audiences through his larrikin persona (despite portraying a heavily-accented Jew), Le Blanc came to Australia in 1913 with the American Burlesque Company and remained for the rest of his life.
BOBBY LE BRUN
Eric Marshall took the stage name Bobby Le Brun “just for fun” prior to securing work on the Clay circuit in 1928 and toured with Mo’s Merrymakers. He made his Tivoli debut in 1929 and over the next two decades toured with Kate Howarde (1930-31), George Sorlie (1933-37), Barton’s Follies (1941-45) and the Great Levante. He also spent much time in Newcastle and Sydney and toured New Zealand (1948-49). Between 1949 and 1961 he ran Georgie Sorlie’s tent show with Grace Sorlie, and before retiring in 1975 appeared regularly on television on the club circuit.
Image source: http://www.joseflebovicgallery.com
Lance Lenton established his reputation as a Negro and Dutch character comedian in the mid to late 1870s before turning to writing(including songs, sketches, burlesques and pantomimes). Among the artists to have had hits with his songs were F.M. Clark, Slade Murray, Horace Bent and Will Whitburn. Although in demand as both a comedian and dramatic actor Lenton retired from performing in the late-1880s to work as a journalist.
- More details coming soon
(aka The Only Leon / The Great Leon )
Francis Leon made his professional stage debut in 1858 and quickly established himself as a soprano-singing prima donna and danseuse. It was with Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels (1863-1880) that he is best remembered, however. When they came to Australia in 1878 Leon was one of the first female impersonators to appear on the Antipodian stage, and certainly one of the most revered. Following the end of their partnership in 1880 Leon formed the Mastodon Minstrels before leaving for London and eventually America. He returns to Australia in 1885 with the Leon and Cushman Minstrels and briefly revives Kelly and Leon’s Minstrels in Chicago in 1900.
Image source: Houghton Library, Harvard University.
(ca. 1882-) Dancer, singer, choreographer, producer, actor.
Fred Leslie first appeared on the stage with his father and uncle (the Leslie Brothers). After establishing his reputation as dancer in vaudeville he joined J. C. Williamson’s in 1901 appearing in musical comedies, revues and pantomimes. He later formed a dance partnership with Ivy Shilling that was a hit in both Australia and the UK. Leslie continued to work in Britain as a dancer/ choreographer up until the late 1940s.
- More details coming in early 2013.
(aka Les Thiers)
Initially comprising siblings Ada, Maud and George Thyer, Les Thieres began performing in Brisbane during the early 1890s. By 1894 they were appearing with Lawton and Leslie’s Minstrels (Theatre Royal) and York and Jones Empire Minstrels (Gaiety Theatre), and in Williamson and Musgrove’s Sydney pantomime Cinderella. The Thyers continued to perform around Australia throughout the 1890s and early 1900s, eventually becoming a quartet (with the addition of Charlie), and securing engagements with Harry Rickards’ (Tivoli circuit) and Percy Dix (New Zealand) among others. Known as the Thieres Quintette in 1901 their last known performances were in 1903.
- For further details see: Claire Marshall’s blog page “Theatrical Family History” at Claire Marshall Choreographer (sighted 6/08/2013)
Source: Claire Marshall. Image: Les Theires at the Sydney Tivoli (1899). Courtesy of Claire Marshall and Lucas Thyer.
LEVANTE / THE GREAT LEVANTE
(aka Levant / Les Cole / Magician Cole)
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest magicians, Les Cole began learning magic in his early teens before touring an escapology act as Levante. In 1927 he and his wife and daughter left Australia to tour the east and Europe before moving to Great Britain where he gradually expanded his show into a revue extravaganza. He returned to Australia in 1940 and continued touring until the late 1950s.
The adopted child of Lillian Ross, a leading teacher of juvenile vaudeville performers, Little Verlie became one Australia’s premiere contortion and posing acts during the 1910s and early 1920s. With another of Ross’s adopted children, Wee Darrell, she also toured South Africa in 1917/18. She also worked under the names La Petite Verlie and Little Winsome.
ALF G. LUMSDEN
Magician, mentalist, prestidigitateur, dramatist/librettist, songwriter, poet, recitationist,
Starting out as an amateur illusionist/mentalist in the early 1890s, Alfred Lumsden made his name in regional Victoria for his act Mysteria. He briefly used the name Czerny in the early 1900s, and between late 1905 and 1907 toured New Zealand and Australia for William Anderson. Lumsden turned to management in 1908, initially as representative at the Bijou (Melbourne) and as tour manager for Beaumont Smith and Allan Hamilton among others. He also wrote the pantomimes (including songs) Babes in the Wood (1909) and Sinbad the Sailor (1914) and four-act comedy Bill Adams (1915).
Image Source: State Library of Victoria