Today is the birthday of Ida Lupino (1918-1995). Most people know her strictly as a beautiful English-American noir dame, and as one of America’s first female film directors. What is less commonly known about her is that she came from a long line of English music hall acrobat-comedians, stretching all the way back to the 18th century. Her father, Stanley was also in the music hall, as were her uncles Lupino Lane and Wallace Lupino (who also became silent movie comedy stars). Following their advice, she too went into into the family line, but taking a slightly different route, studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and becoming a “legit” star of stage and screen starting in the early 30s. Her last film was My Boys are Good Boys (1978) with Lloyd Nolan and Ralph Meeker.
There’s more about the Lupinos in my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube.
Now here’s Ida making a cameo on I Love Lucy (as so many stars did when Lucy jumped the shark and “went to Hollywood”):
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss 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