‘Two more electric personalities it has never been my fate to meet. They radiated personal magnetism, vibrant energy or whatever you like to call it and any revue benefited enormously by their presence on the stage… On the stage and off the Dolly sisters were unique.’ Charles B. Cochran
The Dolly Sisters arrived in London in 1920 to star in Albert de Courville’s revue Jigsaw at the Hippodrome becoming an instant hit. They didn’t particularly like De Courville or the parts alloted them and were elated when Charles B. Cochran took them under his wing and starred them in League of Notions (1921), a fleeting appearance in Fun of the Fayre (1922) and Babes in the Wood (1921/22). Cochran understood them.
The London trip was also an excuse to escape marital discord and by 1922 they were both divorced and immediately used their new found freedom to great advantage. Their popularity in a social sense blossomed in Europe and they genuinely believed that they were the first show business personalities to be accepted socially by English and European society. This ‘acceptance’ was largely measured by the fact that their beauty and effervescent personalities, not to mention their novelty value as identical twins, enabled them to become the objects of affection of numerous rich and successful men. Each vied with the other in an elaborate game of falling in love, engagement, rumours of marriage and then cold feet.
They were linked romantically with dozens of named and unnamed men of title or wealth. However, Jenny’s liaison with the famous London Department Store owner Gordon Selfridge and Rosie’s elopement with the Canadian multi-millionnaire Mortimer Davis Jr were the most widely publicised although they were also both chased around Europe by David the Prince of Wales later to become Edward V111.
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