Friday, March 21, 2008

Florence Desmond

Florence Desmond was an English actress and comedienne whose prime years were in the 1930s. She was also known for impersonating famous personalities of the day.

In 1932 she made a recording, "A Hollywood Party", in which she impersonated several actresses and actors of the time, including Janet Gaynor, Greta Garbo, Marie Dressler, Jimmy Durante, and Tallulah Bankhead. As a collector of 78rpm records, mostly comic songs and sketches, I acquired this and enjoyed it very much. I was impressed with Ms. Desmond's ability to closely mimic the voices of the well-known performers.

I wrote to her in 1992, requesting an autographed photo. It was several months before I received a reply. She sent this letter explaining the delay; she'd been in hospital.

She enclosed this photo, but did not sign it. I didn't return it to her and request she sign it, because I'd read that she was in ill health.

Ms. Desmond died less than two months later, on January 16, 1993. Some years later, I was able to purchase a signed photo, shown below. It's signed "To Madeline, All Good Wishes, Florence Desmond".

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