Elsie Randolph

Elsie Randolph

Although Elsie Randolph often played zany, quirky and sometimes unattractive heroines, she could, as this photograph shows, also be a traditional glamorous star. Her stage partnership with Jack Buchanan lasted over 20 years. She was the comic foil to Jack’s casual elegance, able to handle comic parts, as well as sing, dance and look attractive when required. In Stand Up and Sing their dancing duets were particularly praised, almost like a romantic version of Fred and Adele Astaire’s brother and sister dances, perfectly matched in style, with Elsie’s fast bright and vivacious style balanced by Jack’s slower rhythm. To the public they were an unbreakable partnership and when Jack appeared in The Flying Trapeze without her, he heard calls of ‘Why have you got rid of Elsie?’ as he left the theatre. The public wanted to see them united in private life, but Elsie always maintained that he was more like a father to her and that she could go to him for advice about anything.