Best known for her brilliant and fearless novels, and as the creator of Gigi, Colette (Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette) was born this day in 1873. From 1906 through 1912 she performed in Paris music halls, including the Moulin Rouge, an experience which informs her excellent novel The Vagabond. Colette was a dancer and mime in the music halls, and became notorious for a lewd onstage kiss with her female partner in 1907. Among the many other women the bi-sexual writer-performer is said to have romanced is Josephine Baker. Over the next several decades she wrote plays, ballets, opera libretti and some 50 novels. She passed away in 1954, and was given the first state funeral ever bestowed on a woman in France.
Here is a 1951 documentary about her, narrated by Cocteau:
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on comedy history see my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc