Gilda Gray (Marianna Michalska)

Photos with Gilda Gray

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Krakau, Galicia, Austria-Hungary [now Kraków, Malopolskie, Poland]
The creator of 'the Shimmy' was a voluptuous blonde dancer with mischievous eyes, born Marianna Michalska in Kracow, Poland. Her parents died tragically and she was eventually adopted from an orphanage. Her foster-parents took her to the U.S. in 1909, where she commenced her career singing in her father-in-law's Chicago saloon. She then worked as a cabaret dancer in New York, and, so the story goes, discovered 'shimmying' (by 'shaking her chemise') out of sheer nervousness during a performance. Whether this is true or not, she managed to attract the attention of pianist and band leader Frank Westphal. Read more...


Character: Mabel Greenfield

Piccadilly 1929