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Leno, Dan

Leno, Dan (1860–1904). Entertainer. Born George Galvin, and son of an Irish music-hall performer living in London, Leno made his first appearance at 4 as an ‘Infant Wonder’, singing, dancing, and tumbling. He developed his own act, though his clog-dancing was better received in the north than in London. Small and chirpy, with a streak of wistfulness, Leno's fame arrived in 1886–7 as the mother in Jack and the Beanstalk. Henceforth his forte was pantomime and he appeared at Drury Lane for fifteen successive seasons. The mainstay of his career was rambling character sketches. In 1901 he was asked to entertain Edward VII at Sandringham and was thereafter billed as ‘The King's Jester’. The strain of continuous performing took a heavy toll and he died of a brain haemorrhage at the age of 44.

J. A. Cannon

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