Documentary: Music Hall Star Hetty King “Performer” (1970)

Winifred Emms (4 April 1883 – 28 September 1972), best known by her stage name Hetty King, was an English entertainer who played in the music halls over a period of 70 years.

Emms adopted the name Hetty King when she first appeared on the stage of the Shoreditch Theatre, at the age of six with her father, William Emms (1856–1954), a comedian who used the stage name of Will King. For the week commencing 10 December 1904 she topped the programme at the newly opened (by 10 days) Empire-Hippodrome in Ashton-under-Lyne, billed as “The Society Gem”. It was her first of many appearances at this theatre, part of the Broadhead circuit.

By 1905, she was appearing in music halls, with her solo act, as a male impersonator, often dressed as a “swell”. Her career spanned both World Wars when she performed in the uniform of either a soldier or a sailor. In the First World War her act included, in 1916, “Songs the soldiers sing” in which she sang some of the less ribald songs invented by soldiers in the trenches.

She also played the “principal boy” in many pantomimes. She continued to entertain until the end of her life, touring with the show Thanks for the Memory.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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