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Dame Gladys Cooper

(1888-1971), Actress

Sitter in 166 portraits
Actress. One of the great figures of 20th Century theatre, Cooper started as a chorus girl at the Gaiety Theatre in The Girls of Gottenberg (1907), and returned the following year as a 'travelling newspaper beauty' in Havana. In 1916, she began to act at the Playhouse, a theatre that she was later to manage. Of all the picture-postcard beauties of the First World War, she was the most popular. She was created a Dame in 1967. In 1971 she wrote, 'Who cares how old I am? Who cares how long ago it was since I first played Peter Pan? ... this is the performance that matters. This is the challenge ... just before the curtain rises is still a good time. The air is promise crammed'.

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