Phyllis Dare

b. Phyllis Constance Haddie Dones, 15 August 1890, London, England, d. 27 April 1975, Brighton, East Sussex, England. With older sister, Zena Dare (b. Zena Dones, 4 February 1887, London, England, d.…
Read Full Biography

Artist Biography

b. Phyllis Constance Haddie Dones, 15 August 1890, London, England, d. 27 April 1975, Brighton, East Sussex, England. With older sister, Zena Dare (b. Zena Dones, 4 February 1887, London, England, d. 11 March 1975, London, England), Phyllis formed an act while they were very young. Her stage debut came in Babes In The Wood (1899) and she had roles in plays and pantomime before making her West End debut in Seymour Hicks’ Bluebell In Fairyland (1901). She continued in roles suited to her gentle charm, among them The Catch Of The Season (1905), taking over as Angela from Ellaline Terris (who had succeeded Zena Dare), and 1906’s The Belle Of Mayfair (in which she took over the lead from Edna May). Among other musical comedy appearances Dare made in the pre-war years were The Dairymaids (1906), The Arcadians (1909), Peggy (1911), a 1911 Paris production of The Quaker Girl, The Sunshine Girl (1912), The Girl From Utah (1913), a 1914 revival of Miss Hook Of Holland and Tina (1915). Dare was the lead in the latter two plays, both written by Paul Rubens, who had also composed the music for The Sunshine Girl and The Dairymaids. She and Rubens became close and planned to marry but he was ailing and died in 1917. After the war she was in Kissing Time (1919), Ring Up (1921), The Lady Of The Rose (1922), The Street Singer (1924), which she also produced, and Lido Lady (1926) and also played pantomime.

From this point in her career, Dare was more often seen in dramatic productions than in musical comedies. In the 30s, she was in Cheated (1930), Words And Music (1932), Music In The Air (1934), The Fugitives (1936), And The Music Stopped and Call It A Day (both 1937). In 1940, she and her sister were briefly together in Ivor Novello’s Full House. Through the 40s she continued in dramas and musicals with roles in Other People’s Houses (1941), June Mad (1945), Day After Tomorrow, Lady Frederick (both 1946), and Sit Down A Minute (1948). Another reunion with her sister came with their appearance in Novello’s King’s Rhapsody (1949), in which Dare played Marta. The show ran on until some months after Novello’s death in 1951 and when it closed in October that year Dare retired to the south coast of England. Her death came a few weeks after her sister had died.