Our GracieBorn January 9, 1898 Rochdale, UK. Died September 27, 1979 Capri, Italy Dame Gracie Fields, born Grace Stansfield, was a singer, actress and comedian.
One of Gracie Fields' most successful productions was at the Alhambra Theatre in 1925. The show was a major success and toured for ten years. She made the first of ten appearances in Royal Variety Performances in 1928, gaining a devoted following with a mixture of self-deprecating jokes, comic songs and monologues. Fields had a great rapport with her audience, which helped her become one of Britain's highest paid performers, playing to sold out theatres across the country.
Her most famous song, which became her theme, "Sally", was worked into the title of her first cinema film, Sally in Our Alley (1931), which was a major box office hit. She went on to make several films initially in Britain and later in the United States (for which she was paid a record fee of US$200,000 for four films)
The late 30s saw her popularity peak and she was given many honours including the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) (for services to entertainment) in 1938, and the freedom of the borough of Rochdale.
In 1939, she became seriously ill with cervical cancer. The public sent over 250,000 goodwill messages and she retired to her villa in Capri to recover.
After the war, she continued her career on a less active basis. She continued recording and working for charity, but made no more films.
In 1978, she opened the Gracie Fields Theatre.
She made an appearance at the Royal Variety Show at the age of 80; it was her last performance.
In February 1979 she was created a Dame Commander of the British Empire seven months before her death at her home in Capri, aged 81.