Marie Cahill (born this day in 1870) was one of the great transitional figures from the age of 19th century theatre to the vaudeville era. A Brooklyn native, she started out in legit theatre in plays by the likes of Augustin Daly and Charles Hoyt. For the first two decades of the 20th century, she was a Broadway mainstay, and for the first part of the ’20s she was popular in big time vaudeville. Short, squat and comical, she was one of the great singing comediennes of the time, mixing patter and funny songs. And here’s a very good example of a song she was associated with 1902’s “Under the Bamboo Tree” (recorded in 1917):
Cahill retired from show business in 1930, and passed away three years later.
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.