19 Facts About Beatrice Lillie


Beatrice Lillie began to perform as a child with her mother and sister.


Beatrice Lillie made her West End debut in 1914 and soon gained notice in revues and light comedies, becoming known for her parodies of old-fashioned, flowery performing styles and absurd songs and sketches.


Beatrice Lillie debuted in New York in 1924 and two years later starred in her first film, continuing to perform in both the US and UK.


Beatrice Lillie was associated with revues staged by Andre Charlot and works of Noel Coward and Cole Porter, and frequently was paired with Gertrude Lawrence, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley.


Beatrice Lillie won a Tony Award in 1953 for her revue An Evening with Beatrice Lillie.


Beatrice Lillie was born in Toronto to Irish-born John Beatrice Lillie and his wife Lucie Ann.


Beatrice Lillie had an elder sister, Muriel, at one time an aspiring concert pianist who later played the piano at silent movie houses, married firstly to the Egyptologist, stage designer and writer Arthur Weigall, and secondly to Sir Brian Dean Paul, 6th Baronet of Rodborough.


Beatrice Lillie's father was a cigar seller at the time of Lillie's birth, later working as a guard at the Toronto city jail.


Beatrice Lillie had been a soldier in the British Army stationed in India, and on his honourable discharge went to Toronto rather than returning to Ireland.


Lucie Ann Beatrice Lillie, who had "a modest reputation as a concert singer" was the daughter of a Manchester clothing retailer who had retired to a farm outside Toronto.


Beatrice Lillie performed in Ontario towns as part of a family trio with her mother and older sister, Muriel, her father running the family home in Toronto as a boarding house in their absence.


Beatrice Lillie's performing in such comedy routines as "One Dozen Double Damask Dinner Napkins", earned her the frequently used sobriquet of "Funniest Woman in the World".


Beatrice Lillie returned to Broadway in 1939 in Set to Music and in 1944 in Seven Lively Arts.


Beatrice Lillie was married on 20 January 1920 at the church of St Paul, Drayton Bassett, Fazeley, Staffordshire, England, to Robert Peel, son of Sir Robert Peel, 4th Baronet, and at the time a used car salesman.


Beatrice Lillie inherited the title on his father's death in 1925.


Beatrice Lillie eventually separated from her husband, but the couple never divorced.


Beatrice Lillie was a former US Marine, almost three decades younger, who became her friend and companion for the rest of their lives, and she boosted his career.


Beatrice Lillie suffered a stroke in the mid-1970s, and in 1977, a conservator was appointed over her property; she retired to England.


Beatrice Lillie's portrait, painted by Neysa McMein about 1948 or 1949, is in the collection of The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in England.