Dan Leno

Definition

Theater

  • (George Galvin; 1860 - 1904) British cockney star of themusic halls, who specialized in comic songs and ramblingmonologues delivered at top speed. Leno was only five feet tall, hada squeaky voice, and, as Marie Lloyd said, "the saddesteyes in the whole world". He always feigned surprise when theaudience laughed at his stories.

    Leno made his debut at the age of four when he appeared atthe Cosmotheka Music Hall, Paddington, as "Little George theInfant Wonder, Contortionist, and Posturer". He later beganto sing and dance, winning the world clog-dancing championship atLeeds in 1880. He adopted his stage name in 1883. Five years laterhe made his Drury Lane debut as the Baroness in Babes in the Wood,going on to play pantomime dames there for the next 15 Christmases,his best known roles being Widow Twankey and Mother Goose. On hisdeath Max Beerbohm wrote in the Saturday Review, "solittle and frail a lantern could not long harbour so big a flame."

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