The Times (28 August, 1923 - p.11):
DEATH OF LETTY LIND
THE OLD GAIETY.
We regret to announce that Miss Letty Lind, the actress and dancer, died yesterday at her residence, Brookside, Salthill, Slough, after a short illness. For many years she had lived in comparative retirement in her house, which, standing in beautiful grounds, adjoins the Bath Road, near where the old Eton “Montem” celebrations took place.
To have seen Miss Letty Lind on the stage gives middle-aged people a just chance of crowing over the young. No doubt some who have come after her have surpassed her, as did some few of her contemporaries, in technical skill. She had a tiny singing-voice and no great accomplishment in singing. Were we to see her dancing to-day we should certainly have to admit that its range was very limited compared with what we have seen dancing do since. But there has been no one quite like her; no one who could give the particular quality of pleasure which she gave. She was very pretty; she was very graceful; there was something appealing about her which might almost be called childish. She had a queer and very attractive little croak in her voice, and an elementary, little-girlish way of saying things which made them peculiarly engaging, and caused her saying of them to stick in the memory with a permanence which their wit or point might by no means justify. Add to this the enchanting lissomeness and beauty of all such movements as she was mistress of, and a stage personality (as we call it) which was like no one else’s, and there is more than justification for the glow which the remembrance of her performances kindles.
The books of reference say that she was born on December 21, 1862. She was one of several sisters (the family name was Rudge) who, under various stage-names—Lydia Flopp, Millie Hilton, Fanny Dango, Adelaide Astor—won fame on the lyric stage by their looks and their ability. She first went on the stage, at Birmingham, at the age of four or five, to play the child Eva in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. She toured with Howard Paul. She appeared at John Hollingshead’s Gaiety Theatre, but in a comedy with Harriet Jay, not in a distinctively Gaiety piece. She was hard at work in London and the provinces for twenty years in comedy, farce, and pantomime. Then, in 1887, she appeared at the Gaiety again, and now in the “line” which was to bring her triumphs. It was newly become George Edwardes’s Gaiety, after being John Hollingshead’s. It was the Gaiety of Nellie Farren and Fred Leslie, of David James and Sylvia Grey; and the first piece in which Letty Lind appeared there was Monte Cristo, Junior. Then came Miss Esmeralda, Ruy Blas, Carmen- up-to-Data, and Cinder-Ellen. And then, in 1892, Nellie Farren being crippled and Fred Leslie dead, burlesque was done for. But musical comedy was soon to be invented as its successor; and Letty Lind, after some years of touring in the United States and Australia and casual appearances in London (among them being in Morocco Bound, one of the earliest of musical comedies), came back to George Edwardes’s management, to play at Daly’s Theatre in The Artist’s Model, The Geisha, and The Greek Slave. Two other well-known musical comedies saw her in the cast before her retirement—The Gay Pretender and The Girl from Kay’s. But by 1902, when the last-named piece was produced, her great day was over.
The story of the Gaiety of the days of burlesque and of the Gaiety and Daly’s under George Edwardes has been told over and over again. It means nothing to those who have only heard of those great times: many an elderly and serious person cherishes his memories of performances and of performers that then seemed entrancing. And one of the clearest and the dearest figures among those welcome shadows is that of the childlike actress, the light-footed, lissom-limbed dancer, whose death we announce to-day.
And this obituary in The Gloucester Citizen of 28th August, 1923 (reprinted from The Daily Telegraph) includes the following anecdote about The Nine Days’ Queen:
“... Subsequently she was selected by Robert Buchanan to play a part in his drama, “A Nine Day’s Queen,” at the Gaiety. During the performance something went wrong, and an ugly “wait” seemed inevitable. “Couldn’t Miss Lind fill it up” asked the distracted author. Responding to the call, the young actress recited with great effect, “The Language of Love,” a piece depending largely for success on the imitation of various animals. ...”
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