Grace La Rue and Her Inky Dinks

Today is the birthday of singing single Grace La Rue (1880-1956). She got her start singing in variety saloons, tent shows and burlesque, working her way into vaudeville after performing with a couple of different two acts and (as was common at the time) with a group of “picks” (pickaninnies) she called her Inky Dinks. She managed to land a role in the 1906 musical The Blue Moon , which led to a featured spot in the first two editions of the Zeigfeld Follies. In 1909 she played William Morris’s short lived opposition vaudeville circuit, and consequently (like many performers) was banned from Keith time. She took parts in several long-forgotten Broadway shows, then played English music hall where she famously made a smash by introducing “You Made Me Love You ( I Didn’t Want to Do it”). When she came back she wable to return to American vaudeville, played several more Broadway shows through the end of the twenties (notably revues like Raymond Hitchcock’s Hitchy-Coo, the Music Box Revue, and Greenwich Village Follies. She also managed to do a few films including a 1929 Vitaphone short, and a part in Mae West’s She Done Him Wrong (1932).

Here she is in 1913, singing “A Tango Dream”:

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. 



  1. What a beautiful image of GRACE LaRUE. I had not seen this before. Trav: on Thursday evening, August 16, 2012 we will be having a Mae West – Guido Deiro event here in Manhattan, celebrating their meeting in August 1913 in VAUDEVILLE. Multi-media event, all vaude all the time. Refreshments served. Whoopie.


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