Nan Halperin was best known for a self-contained act composed entirely of special material crafted especially for her, consisting of monologues in a wide variety of characters, and collections of original songs. Born in Russia in 1898, she moved to the Minneapolis area with her family at the age of two. She began acting with stock companies when still a child, and amassed so much experience that by age 15 she was touring with Emma Carus in a show called A Broadway Honeymoon, her breakthrough role. She was headlining at the Palace only two years later. In 1916 she obtained the first-ever three-year contract from the United Booking Office, booking agency for vaudeville’s Big Time. For awhile, the person who wrote her act was her husband William B. Friedlander, a major Broadway writer/ director/ producer 1920-44. In addition to her vaudeville career, she also starred in the Broadway shows Make it Snappy (1917), Spice of 1922, and Little Jessie James (1924). She retired from show business in 1934, never having made the jump to radio or pictures, and passed away in 1963.
To learn more about 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.