45 Facts About Gracie Fields


Gracie Fields was known affectionately as Our Gracie and the Lancashire Lass and for never losing her strong, native Lancashire accent.


Gracie Fields was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and an Officer of the Venerable Order of St John in 1938, and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1979.


Gracie Fields made her first stage appearance as a child, in 1905, joining children's repertory theatre groups such as "Haley's Garden of Girls" and the "Nine Dainty Dots".


Gracie Fields's professional debut in variety took place at the Rochdale Hippodrome theatre in 1910, and she soon gave up her job in the local cotton mill, where she was a half-timer, spending half a week in the mill and the other half at school.


Gracie Fields met the comedian and impresario Archie Pitt and they began working together.


Gracie Fields came to major public notice in Mr Tower of London, a show staged in London's West End.


Gracie Fields's career accelerated from this point, with dramatic performances and the beginning of a recording career on His Master's Voice.

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Gracie Fields was one of the most successful recording artists at the label, her first record, My Blue Heaven sold 500,000 copies in 1928.


At one point, Gracie Fields was playing three shows a night in the West End.


Gracie Fields appeared in the Pitt production SOS with Gerald Du Maurier, a play staged at the St James's Theatre.


Gracie Fields went on to make a number of films, initially in Britain and later in the United States.


Gracie Fields tried to opt out of filming, before director Monty Banks persuaded her otherwise, landing her a lucrative Hollywood deal.


Gracie Fields demanded that the four pictures be filmed in Britain and not Hollywood.


The final few lines of the song "Sally", which Gracie Fields sang at every performance from 1931 onwards, were written by her husband's mistress, Annie Lipman.


Gracie Fields helped Rochdale Association Football Club in the 1930s, when they were struggling to pay fees and buy sports equipment.


Gracie Fields kept this until 1967, when the home was no longer needed.


In 1939, Gracie Fields suffered a breakdown and went to Capri to recuperate.


Gracie Fields travelled to France to entertain the troops in the midst of air-raids, performing on the backs of open lorries and in war-torn areas.


Gracie Fields travelled to Chester with serviceman Harrison after he had watched her perform in France.


Gracie Fields stayed with his family of 9 as a guest in their small 2 up 2 down house.


Gracie Fields occasionally returned to Britain, performing in factories and army camps around the country.


Gracie Fields performed many times for Allied troops, travelling as far as New Guinea, where she received an enthusiastic response from Australian personnel.


Gracie Fields began performing in Britain again in 1948, headlining the London Palladium over Ella Fitzgerald who was on the bill.


In 1951, Gracie Fields took part in the cabaret which closed the Festival of Britain celebrations.


Gracie Fields proved popular once more, though never regaining the status she enjoyed in the 1930s.

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Gracie Fields continued recording, but made no more films, moving more towards light classical music as popular tastes changed, often adopting a religious theme.


Gracie Fields continued into the new medium of LP records, and recorded new versions of her old favourite songs, as well as contemporary tracks, to 'liven things up a bit'.


Gracie Fields claimed that he was the love of her life, and that she couldn't wait to propose to him.


Gracie Fields proposed on Christmas Day in front of friends and family.


Gracie Fields lived on her beloved Isle of Capri for the remainder of her life, at her home La Canzone Del Mare, a swimming and restaurant complex which Fields' home overlooked.


Gracie Fields began to work less, but still toured the UK under the management of Harold Fielding.


In 1956, Gracie Fields was the first actress to portray Miss Marple on screen, in a US Television production of Agatha Christie's A Murder is Announced.


Gracie Fields was the subject of This Is Your Life on 20 March 1960, when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.


Gracie Fields regularly performed in TV appearances, being the first entertainer to perform on Val Parnell's Sunday Night at the London Palladium.


Gracie Fields had two Christmas TV specials in 1960 and 1961, singing her old favourites and new songs in front of a studio audience.


In 1968, Gracie Fields headlined a two-week Christmas stint at the West Riding of Yorkshire's prestigious Batley Variety Club.


Gracie Fields appeared in ten Royal Variety Performances from 1928 onwards, her last being in 1978 at the age of 80, when she appeared as a surprise guest in the finale and sang her theme song, "Sally".


Gracie Fields' health declined in July 1979, when she contracted pneumonia after performing an open-air concert on the Royal Yacht which was docked in Capri's harbour.


The press reported she died holding her husband's hand, but in reality he was at their Anacapri home at the time, while Gracie Fields was home with the housekeeper, Irena.


Gracie Fields is buried in Capri's Protestant Cemetery, in a white marble tomb.


Gracie Fields's coffin was carried by staff from her restaurant.


Gracie Fields was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1938 New Years Honours.


The local theatre in Rochdale, the Gracie Fields Theatre, was opened by her in 1978.


In September 2016, a statue of Gracie Fields was unveiled outside Rochdale Town Hall, which was the first statue of a woman to be erected for over a century in Lancashire.


Queue at Lyceum Theatre for a Gracie Fields film, taken for British Empire Films.

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