Posts Tagged ‘Gordon Selfridge’

Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge

The Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge

More interesting commentary about the Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge, in advance of the last series of the ITV show, Mr Selfridge is unveiled this time from the Daily Star. We all know that TV drama is not true to life but why oh why do they continue to insist that certain things are true when they are clearly not? Once again Harry Selfridge did not have an affair with both sisters. He did not have ‘a fling’ with Rosie (she was engaged to a prominent French socialite when they met) but was madly in love with Jenny. As the author of the only biography about the Dolly Sisters, I was mildy relieved that one of the actresses Zoe Richards, who plays Jenny, said: ‘I really hope viewers don’t hate The Dollies. I want them to like us.’ However, I will reserve my judgement about her comment ‘We spice things up and I think we’ve done an accurate portrayal of them.’ Let’s wait and see. But for starters they were identical twins and the actresses portraying them are not related and they were not blonde. So I fear we are on the wrong footing already. I wonder if they read my book? Simply put, if you are interested in the truth, buy my biography about the Dolly Sisters, simply titled The Dolly Sisters, to get the full and true story or revel in their story as told in The Dolly Sisters in Pictures. The Dolly Sisters: Icons of the Jazz Age book coverDolly Sisters in Pictures book cover                                        

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Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge

The Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge

The commentary about the Dolly Sisters and Mr Selfridge, in advance of the last series of the ITV show, has started already with the latest feature from The Mail on Sunday. Thankfully this assessment is not too bad and instead of blaming the Dolly Sisters for ruining him and describing them as gold-diggers, the blame is set squarely on Selfridge himself by stating that he ‘was financially ruined because of his obsession with twin dancers.’ This is a stance I have advocated in my biography about the Dolly Sisters and relentlessly followed over the years since publication. However, it is disappointing that there are the usual misleading comments such as Andrew Davies’ (the dramatist who created the series) assertion that Selfridge definately slept with Jenny but it is not clear if he bedded Rose (note : her name was Rosie). This plants a seed of doubt about the morals of both sisters and actively encourages a salaciousness about Selfridge’s activities with both sisters which of course sounds intriguing but is untrue. Let’s get this straight right away - Selfridge’s ‘relationship’ was just with Jenny not Rosie. Jenny was the object of his affection not Rosie. It is important to know that when they met in 1925 Rosie was already engaged to the French socialite Francois Dupre. Interestingly, in 1922 the Dollies appeared in vaudeville with Harry Richman, the singer and dancer and a well-known womaniser. He said of them ‘As far as I knew, they got their fabulously expensive fur coats and evening dresses solely because they were so beautiful, not because of bestowing their favours. Whenever anybody asked “where did you get that coat?” the sister who was asked would only give a sly, secret smile. They were highly moral as a matter of fact . . . a good many girls I knew got mink coats in the traditional manner. The Dollies had such class and were so sweet and gracious they never had to sleep with men.’ Let us also not forget that the sisters were twins - one came with the other - and they spent a lot of their time together until Rosie married in 1927 (and, not to Francois Dupre either). And, in courting one - Jenny - Selfridge would have found Rosie not too far away. It is also relevant that Jenny had another prominent suitor besides Selfridge - a wealthy Belgian businessman called Jacques Wittouck. From 1925, the two men would be inextricably linked with her for the next ten years, with constant rumours of marriage as each took it in turn to be her escort as they vied for her attention in a rather unusual menage à trois. The story is not a simply one-sided one. Indeed, when Jenny had her accident in 1933 she was allegedly with a third and younger suitor called Max Constant. There are a few other inconsistencies in the Mail on Sunday feature that need airing first of all it was not JUST the Dolly Sisters that loved to gamble but it was also a favourite pastime of Gordon Selfridge himself. They were by all accounts a perfect match. It was recognised that as Selfridge grew older his passion for gambling became more intense and was in fact a substitute sexual life. Secondly, both Selfridge and Wittouck asked Jenny to marry them on numerous occasions before 1933 and there were by all accounts many false reports. Simply put, if you are interested in the truth, read my biography The Dolly Sisters: Icons of the Jazz Age to get the full and true story. And, don't forget the new book The Dolly Sisters in Pictures. DS NEW COVER copy 3  

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Mr Selfridge and the Dolly Sisters

Let’s get a few things straight immediately. Selfridge was obsessed with all things beautiful, this included glamorous women. He also had a passion for gambling and was quite reckless. Thankfully, all of these traits are vividily portrayed in the TV show Mr Selfridge. So why is his demise and eventually downfall blamed on others, specifically the beautiful Dolly Sisters? (more…)

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The Dolly Sisters : Icons of the Jazz Age

The rags to riches story of identical twins Jenny and Rosie is set against the glittering backdrop of high society in America and Europe before the onset of the Second World War. They had a colourful life where nature’s duplicity enabled a highly successful career as dancers which made them ‘stars’. And yet, lurking behind their glamorous story of fame, fortune, mistaken identity, millionaires, love and sisterly devotion - that made them legends - is another of rivalry, duplicity and tragedy. (more…)

View Page: The Dolly Sisters biography out now in paperback and e-books

The Parisian Institution of Maxim’s Restaurant

One of the most important additions to the Parisian landscape in the late Nineteenth Century was the legendary Maxim’s restaurant. It has continued to shine as a beacon of excellence for over a century and has become a symbol of Parisian elegance and chic. (more…)

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