Martha Firschke, born in Budapest in 1920 and billed as “Trixie” has been called by some “The First Lady of Juggling”. Born into a family of acrobats, her fear of heights made the prospect of following in her mother’s footsteps onto the perch pole unappetizing. So she taught herself to juggle so well she wouldn’t have to do the other sort of act. By age 14 she was already a circus/ variety star. She moved to the U.S. on the eve of the second World War, played what was left of vaudeville and major presentation houses like the Roxy. Her steadiest gig was 13 years with the Icecapades, where she skated and juggled at the same time. She also did several Hollywood movies, as the clip below will attest. It has been some years since she’s been active, but from what I can glean, she is still among us.
Here she is juggling with Fred Astaire in Broadway Melody of 1940:
To find out more about these variety artists and 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.