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Celeste, Madame (1815–1882)

Celeste, Madame (1815–1882)

French dancer and actress. Name variations: Mme Célesté; Celeste-Elliott. Born in Paris, France, on August 16, 1815 (some sources cite 1814); died in Paris on February 12, 1882; trained in Paris; married a Mr. Elliott in America.

As a little girl, Madame Celeste was a pupil in the ballet class at the Paris Opéra. At 15, she had an offer from America and made her debut at the Bowery Theatre in New York City. Returning to England in 1831, she appeared at Liverpool as Fenella in Masaniello, and also in London. When she appeared again in America in 1834, Celeste aroused such enthusiasm that her admirers carried her on their shoulders and unharnessed the horses from her carriage in order to pull it themselves. It is even said that President Andrew Jackson introduced her to his Cabinet as an adopted citizen of the Union. Having made a large fortune, Mme Celeste returned to England in 1837. She gave up dancing and now appeared as an actress, first at Drury Lane and then at the Haymarket. In 1844, she joined Benjamin Webster in the management of the Adelphi and afterwards took over the sole management of the Lyceum until 1861. After a third visit to the United States from 1865 to 1868, she retired in 1870.

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