Celina De Dio and Her Dog and Pony Show

Kensico Vaudeville Project #14 Name: Celina De Dio Act: Animal Trainer Born: About 1872, Germany Died: 12 November 1935, Wards Island, Manhattan A dog and pony show is such a common colloquial term today. But this was the act of German-born performer Celina De Dio. After a short career in London variety halls as a dancer, De Dio became an animal trainer. She was always on the bottom tier of vaudeville. For ten years she Continue Reading →

An Acting Family’s Tragedy, Alfred Bardelang, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #13 Name: Alfred Bardelang, Jr. Act: None Born: March 1929 Died: 4 February 1934 The little boy would have been the fifth generation of his family to enter the theatrical profession. However, tragedy struck the family of Alfred Bardelang, Jr. He died at just four years and five months old. His twin brother only lived to be two and 1/2. Alfred Jr. was the progeny of two actors. His father, Alfred Sr., Continue Reading →

Charles Clair, English Dramatic Actor

Kensico Vaudeville Project #12 Name: Charles Clair Act: Actor Born: 2 February 1871, London Died: 12 Oct 1939, Brooklyn Actor Charles Frederick Clair was born 2 February 1871 in London. He emigrated to the United States when he was 21. He arrived in New York on 11 April 1892 aboard the City of Berlin from Liverpool. His name appears as both Clair and Claire in billings; Clair is on his immigration application. Clair married a Continue Reading →

I Unearth 1933 Radio Show with George Gershwin, Kitty Carlisle, Richy Craig, Jr.

About five years ago I bought a tape on eBay of an NBC radio show from 1933 because it had Heywood Broun and Deems Taylor as guests. Both were members of the Algonquin Round Table, and I was obsessively acquiring as much ephemera as I could. A lot of the material went into my book The Algonquin Round Table New York: A Historical Guide (Lyons Press, 2015). But a lot of it did not. After Continue Reading →

A Life Lost Too Soon, Comedian Richy Craig, Jr.

Kensico Vaudeville Project #11 Name: Richy W. Craig, Jr. Act: Comedian, Dancer, Singer Born: November 17, 1902, Manhattan Died: November 28, 1933, Manhattan What could be worse for a performer: suffering through tuberculosis for seven years, or watching Milton Berle steal your act? To Richy W. Craig, Jr., both happened. When he was buried in the NVA burial ground he was only thirty-one years old. The New York Post called Craig “a vaudevillian of dry Continue Reading →

Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates

The Kensico Vaudeville Project was launched in 2015. After a break it will return with updates in 2017-2018. This project is to document the vaudeville performers who are interred in the National Vaudeville Association burial grounds in Kensico Cemetery in Westchester County. These are individuals who have biographies written so far. More will be added to this list. Kensico Vaudeville Project Updates: Nettie Kelley Adams – Singer Charles Ahearn – Cyclist Anna Bylund Anderson – Continue Reading →

Follies Girl and Sister Act, Showgirl Victorinne Coscia

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 9 Name: Victorinne Coscia Act: Dancer Born: 18 April 1898, Pennsylvania Died: 8 May 1961, New York City This is the grave of a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who was in two of the greatest casts ever assembled, the back-to-back legendary Follies of 1922 and 1923. Dancer Victorine Voltaire was a teenager when Flo Ziegfeld cast her; her two younger sisters, Jeanne and Rita, were also dancers. (Sister acts were a particular Continue Reading →

Sig Mealey: From the Follies to Babe La Tour’s Bed

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 8 Name: Sig Mealey Act: Acrobat Born: 20 June 1881, possibly Sweden Died: 1951 Sig Mealey was an accomplished acrobat who appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1909, on the same bill with headliners Nora Bayes and Eva Tanguay, at the Grand Opera House. He was briefly married to burlesque and vaudeville star Babe La Tour. He’s buried in the National Vaudeville Association burial ground with his real and stage name. Continue Reading →

The Kid Acrobat James Bird

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 7 Name: James Bird Act: Acrobat Born: About 1875 Died: 21 August 1935, New York City In 1890 James Bird’s name appeared in the New York Times, and it wasn’t in the theater department. The headline says it all: “Minors in the Law’s Eyes” and tells: “The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children… cited Marcus Jacobs and Robert Nelson, managers, respectively, of H. R. Jacobs’s Third Avenue Theatre and Continue Reading →

The Mysterious Soldier, Andrew Joseph Basso

Kensico Vaudeville Project #: 6 Name: Andrew Joseph Basso Act: None Born: 16 November 1892, New York City Died: 22 March 1943, New York City There is only one gravestone in the National Vaudeville Association plot that was given by the Veterans Administration, the federal agency that provides official monuments for U.S. servicemen and women. This is for Andrew Joseph Basso, and his tie to vaudeville and show business can’t be confirmed. Basso was born Continue Reading →