Jack Hulbert
(Movies & TV)
Jean Gilbert
Leo Sheffield
Agatha Christie
The New York Times
Eric Blore
(Movies & TV)
Ivor Novello

See also

Cicely Courtneidge

Knowledge Identifier: +Cicely_Courtneidge


Cicely Courtneidge

English actress and comedienne add

Category: Movies & TV

Born in 1893.

Countries: United Kingdom (63%), United States (15%), Germany (7%)

Main connections: Jack Hulbert, Jean Gilbert, Leo Sheffield

Linked to: Columbia Graphophone Company, The New York Times, The Observer, University of Bristol




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Cicely Courtneidge was born in 1893 add something


The family returned to England in 1894 add something


Her first starring role was Eileen Cavanagh in the long-running Edwardian musical comedy "The Arcadians", which she took over from Phyllis Dare in 1910 add something


In September 1913, she played the part of Lady Betty Biddulph in the musical comedy "The Pearl Girl" add something


In 1914, Courtneidge and Hulbert became engaged to be married, but their plans were delayed by Robert Courtneidge's insistence that they should wait for two years before marrying add something


In June 1914, Courtneidge and Hulbert starred together in "The Cinema Star", an adaptation by Hulbert and Harry Graham of "Die Kino-Königin", a 1913 German comic opera by Jean Gilbert add something


The piece was a hit for Courtneidge and her father, playing to full houses at the Shaftesbury Theatre until Britain and Germany went to war in August 1914; anti-German sentiment brought the run to an abrupt halt add something


In 1916 she married the actor and dancer Jack Hulbert, with whom she formed a professional as well as a private partnership that lasted until his death 62 years later add something


They complied with this injunction and did not marry until February 1916 add something


Having discovered that she seemed more suited to comedy than romantic leads, Courtneidge continued to perform in variety and made her debut in pantomime in 1918 add something


Their first revue was "Ring Up", by Eric Blore and Ivy St. Helier, at the Royalty Theatre in 1921; they received good notices, but the material was weak, and the show was not a great success add something


Courtneidge returned to variety, appearing at the London Coliseum in 1922 add something


In 1923, Courtneidge and Hulbert appeared in "The Little Revue", produced by Hulbert add something


These shows played in the West End and on tour in the UK, and in 1925 the Hulberts made their Broadway debut in their current revue, "By-the-Way" add something


A boom in the film industry enabled both to earn large sums; Courtneidge appeared in 11 British films and one Hollywood film in the 1930s add something


Courtneidge appeared in 11 British films in the 1930s, and one in Hollywood, finding this work to be very lucrative add something


She and Hulbert recorded for Columbia and HMV, returning to the stage in the late 1930s add something


Jack Hulbert - He made his film debut in "Elstree Calling" ; appearing opposite his wife and frequent stage and screen co-star Cicely Courtneidge whom he had married in 1916


In 1931 Courtneidge and Hulbert suffered a serious setback when they discovered that their financial manager had been speculating with their money, suffering heavy losses and putting their business into liquidation add something


Both made solo recordings, and Courtneidge recorded songs and sketches with other artists, including Leo Sheffield, and Ivor McLaren and Lawrence Green, with whom she recorded "Double Damask" in 1932 add something


When Courtneidge's 1932 recording of the sketch was reissued in 1972, "The Gramophone" said, "it is an enduring classic comedy sketch as funny now as it was then" add something


Courtneidge did not return to the theatre until October 1937, playing the dual roles of Mabel and her daughter Sally in the musical "Hide and Seek", co-starring with Bobby Howes, produced by Hulbert add something


Courtneidge performed a segment called "Princess Elizabeth Meets Prince Philip at Dartmouth, 1939", from "The Little Princesses", by Marion Crawford, Cassell, 1950 add something


It ran at the Palace Theatre until April 1940 and was filmed for the cinema add something


In 1941, she presented a nightly three-hour show, raising funds, and formed a small company which she took to Gibraltar, Malta, north Africa, and Italy, performing for the services and hospitals add something


In 1950, Courtneidge was cast in one of her greatest successes, Ivor Novello's musical "Gay's the Word" add something


In the 1950s, Courtneidge's career turned from musicals to straight theatre and revue add something


In 1951 she was appointed CBE add something


After a pre-London tryout, the show opened in the West End in February 1951 and ran until May 1952 add something


In the early 1960s, Courtneidge appeared in a succession of plays in London and the provinces, including "The Bride Comes Back", and in pantomime and a re-creation of old music hall add something


In 1962 and 1963, she and Hulbert starred alongside Vic Oliver, in the BBC radio sitcom "Discord in Three Flats" add something


In 1962, she gave what she considered her finest film performance, in a role wholly unlike her usual parts; in "The L-Shaped Room" she played an elderly lesbian, living in a drab London flat with her cat, recalling her career as an actress and forlornly trying to keep in touch with former friends add something


"The New York Times", 28 May 1963 "The Times" described her performance as a triumph add something


In 1964, Courtneidge accepted the role of Madame Arcati in the London production of "High Spirits", a musical adaptation of Noël Coward's "Blithe Spirit" add something


The last London production in which the Hulberts appeared together was a well-reviewed revival of "Dear Octopus" at the Haymarket Theatre in 1967 with Richard Todd, Joyce Carey and Ursula Howells add something


In 1969, Courtneidge turned to television, playing a working-class role as "Mum" in the first series of the LWT comedy "On the Buses", opposite Reg Varney add something


Courtneidge's theatre work in the 1970s included tours of Agatha Christie's "The Hollow" and Peter Coke's "Breath of Spring", both with Hulbert add something


In 1971, Courtneidge starred in the farce "Move Over, Mrs Markham" at the Vaudeville Theatre, playing "a prudish authoress from Norfolk, bemused by all the flying exits, unexpected entrances, and atmosphere of incipient carnality add something


While appearing in her last West End run in 1971, she celebrated 70 years on the stage add something


In 1972 she was appointed DBE add something


In 1976, she and Hulbert toured in a semi-autobiographical revue, "Once More With Music" add something


Chichester Festival Theatre programme, June 1977 add something


One of her last appearances was in a royal gala performance at the Chichester Festival Theatre in June 1977, celebrating the Queen's Silver Jubilee add something


Hulbert died in 1978; Courtneidge died two years later, shortly after her 87th birthday, at a nursing home in Putney, survived by her only child, a daughter add something

Cicely Courtneidge died in 1980 add something