Originally from South Africa, Billy Gould was a former newspaperman who became a comedian and song-and-dance man in vaudeville and music hall in the 1890s. With his first partner Nellie Burt he developed one of the first “flirtation acts”….the couple delivering humorous repartee as they danced. It was Gould who essentially discovered Valeska Suratt when he hired her to be a replacement in this act. The couple married in 1905; two years later when Suratt became a star they were already history. There are accounts of him still being involved in vaudeville as late as 1911 and 1912; other accounts say that he died in 1909.
To find out about 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.
And check out 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