Lola Montez



  • (Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert; 1821 - 61) Irish dancer,actress, and beauty, who became the most notorious femme fatale of her era.The legend began somewhat inauspiciously in 1843, when 'Lola Montez, Spanishdancer' made a singularly inept and ill-received debut before the Londonpublic. It was soon revealed that 'Lola' was in fact theestranged wife of a Lieutenant James, an officer in the Indian Army. ThereafterLola spent several years drifting around the European capitals, where sheacquired numerous lovers (including Franz Liszt and Alexander Dumas) and evenmore admirers. Her most celebrated liaison, however, was with King Ludwig I ofBavaria, whose mistress she became in 1846. The very public nature of thisaffair - for two years she effectively set Ludwig's foreign and domesticpolicy - led to his deposition in 1848 and Lola fled abroad, eventuallyreaching America. Her New York debut in Betley the Tyrolean (1851) wasfollowed a year later by an appearance in C. P. T. Ware's Lola Montes[sic] in Bavaria, a brazen attempt to cash in on her infamouspast. She then toured the Gold Rush country and California with her'spider dance', which was so risqué that it even shocked liberalSan Francisco. While out West she took an interest in a young miner'sdaughter, Charlotte Crabtree (1847 - 1924), and began trainingher for a career on the stage. After beginning as a child actressCharlotte became a leading burlesque comedienne as LottaCrabtree, making her New York debut in 1865. In her later yearsMontez lectured on fashion and spiritualism, to which she had beenconverted. She died in poverty.