Lupino family



  • A theatrical family, claimed to be the oldest in Britain, membersof which have included pantomimists, acrobats, dancers, comedians,and actors. The first known Lupino was a performer billed as 'SignorLuppino' in Italy in about 1612. Some years later Giorgius GuillemusLuppino (1632 - 93), a puppeteer and singer, settled in Englandas a political refugee; his son Giorgius Carolus Luppino(b. 1662), who later Anglicized his name to George Charles, becamea puppeteer at the age of eight. In the late 17th century the familywas granted a licence to perform for King Charles II. GeorgiusRichard Eastcourt Luppino (1710 - 87) was an apprentice tothe harlequin John Rich (see the Riches); his son,Thomas Frederick Lupino (1749 - 1845) changed the spellingof the family name and became a dancer and scenic artist.

    George Hook Lupino (1820 - 1902) claimed to havecreated the famous sketch in which a servant breaks a mirror and preventshis employer from discovering the accident by standing in place ofthe glass and mimicking his reflection. The routine has recurred throughoutshow-business history, appearing, for instance, in the Marx Brothers'Duck Soup (1933). George Hook had 16 children, 10 of whom becamedancers. His eldest son, George Lupino (1853 - 1932),was born in a dressing room at the Theatre Royal, Birmingham and broughton stage when less than an hour old. He became a clown and was stillperforming just hours before his death.

    George Lupino's brothers, Arthur and Harry,became music hall stars in the early 20th century; Arthur was alsoa noted animal impersonator. George's son, Barry(1882 - 1962), became a dancer, actor, and for several years astock comedian at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton. He teamed up withWill Evans as 'Lupino and Evans', a popular comedy duo that performedin pantomimes, becoming especially famous for their role in TheSleeping Beauty. He also wrote some 50 pantomime librettos andstarred in musical comedy, notably as Sir John in Me and My Girl(1941).

    Barry's brother, Stanley Lupino (1894 - 1942),was an acrobat, comedian, and pantomimist at Drury Lane. He also wroteseveral plays and an autobiography, From the Stocks to the Stars(1934). His daughter, Ida Lupino (1918 - 95) became aHollywood film star.

    Stanley's nephew, Henry George Lupino (1892 - 1959) wasa renowned Cockney comedian who took the stage name of LupinoLane from his grandmother. He first performed at the age of fouras 'Nipper' Lane and subsequently became known in variety, pantomime,and musical comedy, especially as Bill Snibson in Me and My Girl,in which he created the Lambeth Walk.