American vaudeville’s second favorite Scotsman (after Sir Harry Lauder) was Will Fyffe (1885-1947).
Fyffe was a second generation actor in stock companies who began acting with his dad at age 6. He broke into English music hall around 1916, and made numerous appearances at New York’s Palace Theatre in the late 1920s. His patented routine would be to start a song, then break off and deliver an in-character monologue. His most popular number was the self-penned “I Belong to Glasgow”.
Fyffe’s last live appearance in the States was in Earl Carroll’s Vanities in 1932 (the last edition). He appeared in numerous talkies from 1930 until his death (reportedly by falling out a window) in 1947.
Today is his birthday.
To find out more about vaudeville and music hall, including stars like Will Fyffe, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous