Ann Pennington and Her “Black Bottom”

This pint-sized Jazz Age terpsichorean, famed for her renditions of the Black Bottom and the Charleston, and for her ability to tap, was born on this day in 1893. She started out in amateur shows in New Jersey, gradually moving up to vaudeville. A part in a Raymond Hitchcock show in 1911 brought her to New York, which was to remain her permanent home base thereafter. She was to be on Broadway every single year for over two decades, for the most part shuttling back and forth between the Ziegfeld Follies and George White’s Scandals, but also starring in other revues as well. When the Depression took a big bite out of Broadway she continued to dance in whatever clubs and presentation houses she could. Her last Broadway part was in 1943. By the mid 40s, her career was pretty much over. At one point, she was said to have amassed two million dollars. During her last years, she was living on welfare in a Times Square hotel. She passed away in 1971.

To find out more about these variety artists and the history of vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

safe_image

Advertisements

One comment

  1. It is so difficult to get useful information on her. Seriously. If there is any literature or media out there that tells more about her life let me know. She is an awesome woman!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.