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Dame (Esmerelda) Cicely Courtneidge (1893-1980), Actress
Sitter in 80 portraits
Singer and actress. Courtneidge's first starring role was in The Mousmé (1911) as Miyo ko San, singing 'Little Japanese Mama'. Many roles followed, most often with her husband, Jack Hulbert. They came to the Gaiety Theatre in 1926 in Rodgers and Hart's Lido Lady, in which she introduced 'A Tiny Flat Near Soho Square'. After 1930 she divided her time between stage and screen, her films including Soldiers of the King and Under Your Hat. Wartime successes Full Swing, (1942) and Something In the Air (1943) led to Under the Counter which she took to Broadway. In Ivor Novello's final show, Gay's the Word (1951) she found her signature tune, 'Vitality!'. She was created a Dame in 1972.