Gertie Millar

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b. 21 February 1879, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, d. 24 April 1952, Chiddingford, Surrey, England. Although she would retire from the stage before she was 30, Millar crammed into her career many great…
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b. 21 February 1879, Bradford, Yorkshire, England, d. 24 April 1952, Chiddingford, Surrey, England. Although she would retire from the stage before she was 30, Millar crammed into her career many great successes and she is remembered as the archetypal West End ingénue of the early twentieth century. As a child, she performed pantomime and was spotted by producer George Edwardes who gave her a featured role in The Toreador (1901). Millar also appeared in A Country Girl (1902), which was a smash hit, running for more than 700 performances, The Orchid (1903), with over 500 performances, and The Spring Chicken (1905). She was in The New Aladdin (1906), The Girls Of Gottenberg (1907), reprising the role on Broadway in 1908 before returning to London to star in The Waltz Dream. By now Millar had become one of the most popular musical comedy stars of her generation, and her next shows consolidated her place at the top.

Millar had married composer Lionel Monckton and in the leading role in Our Miss Gibbs (1909) she sang his ‘Moonstruck’. Monckton continued to write songs for his wife throughout the following years of her career. She starred in The Quaker Girl (1910), another 500-plus run, Gypsy Love (1912), The Dancing Mistress (1912), Marriage Market (1913), a revival of A Country Girl (1913), and Bric-a-brac (1915). Her career was interrupted by the outbreak of war in 1914. After the war, many things had changed, not least the type of show in which she had appeared with such success declining in public favour. Her husband had drifted out of composing and Edwardes, her long-time producer, had died in 1915. After performances in a few poorly received revues and musical comedies she retired from the stage at the age of 29. Monckton died in 1924 and subsequently she married William Humble Ward, the second Earl of Dudley, thus becoming Lady Dudley.