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Gracie Fields

From Academic Kids

Gracie Fields, born Grace Stansfield (January 9, 1898 - September 27, 1979) was a British singer and comedian who became one of the greatest stars of both cinema and music hall.

Born over a fish and chip shop in Rochdale, in Lancashire, she made her first stage appearance as a child in 1905. Her professional debut in variety took place at the Rochdale Hippodrome theatre in 1910. In 1923 she married struggling comic Archie Pitt, who became her manager. Fields came to major public notice at the Alhambra Theatre in London's West End in 1925, making the first of ten appearances in Royal Variety Shows in 1928. She gained a devoted following with a mixture of self-deprecating jokes, comic songs and monologues, as well as cheerful "depression-era" songs all presented in a "no-airs-and-graces" northern, working class style. Fields had a great rapport with her audience, which helped her become one of Britain's highest paid performers.

Her most famous song, which became her theme, Sally, was worked into the title of her first cinema film, Sally in Our Alley (1931), which was a major box-office hit. She went on to make films in both England and America. In 1940 she married film director, Monte Banks, following her divorce from Pitt. However because Banks remained an Italian citizen and would have been interned in the United Kingdom, Fields was forced to leave Britain during World War II. Although she spent much of her time entertaining troops and supporting the war effort outside Britain, this led to a fall-off in her popularity.

After the war, Fields continued her career on a less active basis. She continued recording, but made no more films, moving more towards light classical music as popular tastes changed. She did a great deal of charity work, and established a home on the island of Capri. She made a final appearance at the Royal Variety Show at the age of eighty in 1978.

Famous Songs

  • Sally
  • Sing as We Go
  • Wish Me Luck as You Wave Me Goodbye
  • The Biggest Aspidestra in the World
  • Only a Glass of Champagne
  • Christopher Robin is Saying His Prayers
  • Angels Guard Thee
  • Nuns Chorus
  • Now Is the Hour
  • The Isle of Capri

Filmography

  • 1931 Sally in our Alley
  • 1932 Looking on the Bright Side
  • 1933 This Week of Grace
  • 1933 Love, Life and Laughter
  • 1934 Sing as We Go
  • 1935 Look Up and Laugh
  • 1936 Queen of Hearts
  • 1937 The Show Goes On
  • 1938 We're Going to Be Rich
  • 1938 Keep Smiling
  • 1939 Shipyard Sally
  • 1943 Stage Door Canteen (U.S.)
  • 1943 Holy Matrimony (U.S.)
  • 1945 Molly and Me (U.S.)
  • 1945 Paris Underground (U.S.)
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