All posts for the month July, 2013

The Dolly Sisters ‘marvellous birds of paradise’

Published July 2, 2013 by Gary Chapman

When you write a book it is annoying when years later you find a very interesting piece that would have been wonderful to include but was missed. So the other day checking a reference for something else I looked at The Glass Ladder an autobiography by the actress and dancer June and there was a page all about the Dolly Sisters. I was well miffed that I had not seen it before..

June has met the Dolly Sisters at parties in London when they were performing in League of Notions during 1921 and said ‘to me they appeared to be marvellous birds of paradise.’

She described that from the moment of their London debut in Jigsaw in 1920, the town rang with extravagant tales of their wealth, jewels and amorous conquests. ‘If one could believe the tales, thrones were about to crumble and multi-millionaires willing to go broke for love of them.’

There was one suitor who was a ‘certain duke’ who was enamoured with Rosie and held out a case containing a fabulous emerald and diamond necklace to dismissed because she ‘did not care for men with red hair.’

She related that when the Dolly Sisters were working at the Casino de Paris in Paris during the period 1925-1926, a private train would take them to Deauville after their Saturday night performance. Cavier and champagne would be served in its drawing room and after playing chemin de fer or baccarat until daylight, they would board the train and sleep their way back to Paris arriving in time for the Sunday matinee.

 ‘In London under Cochran they were lionised. No Mayfair party seemed complete until they arrived, chattering like magpies, one taking up when the other paused for breath and trailing chinchilla or foxes or sables as if they were dish rags.’

The Dolly Sisters: Icons of the Jazz Age out now in paperback and e-book versions