22 October 1876 – 12 July 1943
Actress, Singer, Mimic, Vaudevillian, and Music Hall performer
Cecilia "Cissie" or "Cissy" Loftus was a Scottish actress, singer, mimic, vaudevillian, and music hall performer in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Loftus was born Marie Cecilia Loftus Brown in Glasgow. She was given an education at the Convent of the Holy Child, Raikes Parade, Blackpool, England which moved in 1890 to the premises at Layton Hill Convent, Blackpool which it still occupies although now, after various name changes, splits and mergers, it is known as St. Mary's Catholic College. In July 1893, 17-year-old Cissy Loftus made her début at the Oxford Music Hall in London, followed by an appearance at the Palace Theatre of Varieties. After an early career in music hall and variety performing impersonations of well-known actresses of the day, such as Yvette Guilbert, she appeared at the Gaiety Theatre in musical comedy for one season.
In 1894, she appeared in vaudeville at the Lyceum Theatre in New York City. Loftus toured with the Ada Rehan Company and the Augustin Daly Company before she first appeared at Koster & Bial's on 21 January 1895. With the Rehan troupe she played Washington, DC, St. Louis, Missouri, and Chicago, Illinois as "Miss Cecile" in a playbill. Her exit from Daly's organisation occurred after Loftus was offered larger salaries in New York City. Other roles she played prior to 1895 were "Winnie" in The Last Word and "Audrey" in Love's Labour's Lost. Loftus became an international favourite in vaudeville along with Vesta Tilley and Harry Lauder.
She then began to appear in the legitimate theatre, appearing in The Children of the King at the Royal Court Theatre, in 1898.
She had a successful career both in burlesque, as an accomplished mimic, and on Broadway. As Cissie Loftus, she wrote lyrics and music for songs in a number of productions, including The Belle of Bridgeport (1900) and The Lancers (1907).
Cecilia Loftus died from a heart attack and the effects of alcoholism at the Lincoln Hotel in New York City, on 12 July 1943, aged 66. Her mother had predeceased her by only three years. She is buried in Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, Westchester County, New York, in a plot owned by the Actors' Fund.
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