Herbert Farjeon

b. 5 March 1887, England, d. 3 May 1945. Farjeon was born into a noted literary family. His father was British novelist Benjamin Leopold Farjeon, his mother, Margaret, was the daughter of an American…
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Artist Biography

b. 5 March 1887, England, d. 3 May 1945. Farjeon was born into a noted literary family. His father was British novelist Benjamin Leopold Farjeon, his mother, Margaret, was the daughter of an American actor named Joseph Jefferson. His siblings were Eleanor, a writer for children, Harry (b. 1878, New Jersey, USA, d. 1948) a composer, and Joseph Jefferson, also a writer under the name J.J. Farjeon. Becoming noted for the revues he wrote, Herbert had several successful years in London’s West End. His revues included Spread It Abroad, The Two Bouquets, Nine Sharp, The Little Revue, Diversion (all in the late 30s), Light And Shade and Big Top (both 1942). Of these, The Little Revue, which starred Hermione Baddeley and Cyril Ritchard, was especially well received by critics and audiences. This show was one of several of Farjeon’s shows staged at London’s Little Theatre, where he was a member of the management. The show ran for 415 performances and included in the cast were Bernard Miles, Betty Ann Davies, Gordon Little, Peggy Willoughby, V.C. Clinton-Baddeley, George Benson and Vida Hope, many of whom had also appeared in Nine Sharp. Also in The Little Revue was Joyce Grenfell, making her first appearance on a London stage and performing her own ‘Useful And Acceptable Gifts’.

During the 30s, Farjeon also contributed essays, articles and theatrical reviews to various organs including newspapers, The Daily Mirror, magazines and journals, Vogue, The Shakespeare Journal, The Listener and The Radio Times. Farjeon was also a respected theatre historian. Years after his death, songs and sketches by Farjeon were used in Broadway revues such as Leonard Sillman’s New Faces Of 1952, John Murray Anderson’s Almanac (1953) and From A To Z (1960).

NB: Confusingly, there appears to have been an American performer named Herbert ‘Bert’ Farjeon (b. 27 October 1879, San Francisco, California, USA, d. 3 November 1972, San Marcos, California, USA). He first appeared on Broadway in the play, The Bird Of Paradise (1912). Among other dramas in which he appeared during the 20s are a revival of Edwin Milton Royle’s The Squaw Man (1921), Listening In (1922), Queen Victoria (1923), The Dust Heap (1924), and A Tale Of The Wolf (1925). In 1927, billed as Bert Farjeon, he was in the revue Grand Street Follies.