b. Henry George Lupino, 16 June 1892, London, England, d. 10 November 1959, London, England. An actor, singer, dancer, choreographer, author, and director. Lane was born into a theatrical family which could trace its connections with the stage back to the early seventeenth century - one of his famous ancestors was the clown Grimaldi. At the age of four he was performing in theatres, and soon earned the nickname ‘Nipper’. He developed his own individual style of extremely skilful, and sometimes dangerous comic acrobatic dancing, and appeared in many English and American two-reelers. However, his greatest impact was made in stage musicals where his trademark bowler hat and Cockney persona endeared him to audiences, especially those in London. From 1915-34 he appeared in the West End in musical productions such as Watch Your Step, Follow The Crowd, Extra Special, Afgar, League Of Notions, Puss-Puss (1920), Brighter London, Turned Up, Silver Wings (1930), The One Girl, and The Golden Toy. In 1935, Twenty To One, a musical with a plot about horse racing, was Lane’s first show as director and producer as well as actor. Two years later he had the biggest hit of his career with Me And My Girl (1937) in which he introduced the enormously popular ‘The Lambeth Walk’. In the 40s Lane continued on the London stage with La-Di-Da-Di-Da, Meet Me Victoria, and Sweetheart Mine (1946). Although he had enjoyed success in silent films during the 20s, he was unable to recreate his later stage appeal in talkies. However, he and Lillian Roth were acclaimed for their performances as second leads in The Love Parade (1929), which starred Maurice Chevalier and Jeanette MacDonald.
Another well-known member of Lane’s showbusiness family was Stanley Lupino (b. 15 May 1894, London, England, d. 10 June 1942, London England), who was also an athletic dancer and a talented all-round performer. He appeared in a number of London musical productions from 1917-41, and introduced several amusing songs including Leslie Sarony’s ‘I Lift Up My Finger And I Say ‘Tweet Tweet’’ in Love Lies (1929). Among his other shows were Suzette, Arlette, Hullo, America!, Cinderella, Jig-Saw, The Peep Show, Phi-Phi, Dover Street To Dixie, Puppets, Better Days, So This Is Love, The Love Race, Hold My Hand, Sporting Love, Over She Goes, Crazy Days, The Fleet’s Lit Up, Funny Side Up, Lady Behave. He also made nearly 20 films. Stanley Lupino was the father of the actress Ida Lupino, who went to Hollywood and starred in numerous films from the 30s through to the 80s, including They Drive By Night, High Sierra, and Roadhouse. Lupino Lane’s only child, Lauri Lupino Lane (b. 26 July 1921, London, England, d. 4 June 1986, London, England), who appeared with his father in Me And My Girl, was a regular performer in UK variety theatres until the popularity of television closed them down in the early 60s. He died at the age of 64 and is reckoned to be the last in the line of the celebrated family of entertainers.