Dame Gracie Fields, DBE, was an English-born, later Italian-based actress, singer and comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall.
Born over a fish and chip shop owned by her grandmother in Molesworth Street, Rochdale, Lancashire, she made her first stage appearance as a child in 1905. Her two sisters, Edith and Betty and brother, Tommy, all went on to appear on stage, but Gracie was the most successful. Her professional debut in variety took place at the Rochdale Hippodrome theatre in 1910 and she soon gave up her job in the local cotton mill.
She met comedian Archie Pitt and they began working together. Pitt would come to serve as her manager and the two married in 1923. Their first revue in 1915 was called Yes I think so and the two continued to tour Britain together until 1924 in the revue Mr Tower of London.
Fields came to major public notice when Mr Tower of London came to the West End. Her career rapidly accelerated from this point with straight dramatic performances and the beginning of a recording career.