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Lloyd, Marie

Lloyd, Marie (1870–1922). Music-hall artiste. Born Matilda Wood, but quickly rejecting the stage-name ‘Bella Delmare’ for ‘Marie Lloyd’ when first appearing in music-hall aged 15, she was soon performing in London's West End. Despite some pantomime roles, her forte was music-hall, where she specialized in character songs imbued with vitality, sauce, and skilled gesture (‘Oh, Mister Porter’, ‘Wink the Other Eye’), highly rated by Beerbohm, Sarah Bernhardt, and Ellen Terry. A meteoric rise to fame was followed by world-wide tours. Talented, ever-popular, and incapable of hypocrisy, her reputation for salaciousness and irregular private life meant that by the official moral standards of the time ‘the Queen of the Halls’ was socially unacceptable; lavish generosity to the poor and war work could not prevent exclusion from royal command performances or near-deportation from New York. Latterly unhappy, overwork and domestic violence broke her health and hastened her final collapse.

A. S. Hargreaves

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