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Fay Templeton

Vocalist, Actress

(1865 - 1939)

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Fay Templeton was born into a theatrical family and toured with her own light opera company in the early 1880’s. She made a splash starring in the 1885 revival of Evangeline in New York. She appeared in several productions with the comedy team of Weber and Fields (father of lyricist Dorothy Fields), establishing her comedic abilities.

After several forgotten shows, she starred in her most memorable role in George M. Cohan’s 1906 Forty-five Minutes from Broadway, where she introduced two of its hit songs: “Mary’s a Grand Old Name” and “So Long, Mary.” After marriage to a wealthy industrialist later that year, she semi-retired.

Templeton returned to the stage in a 1912 Weber/Fields’ production and revivals of H.M.S. Pinafore. She made her only film, Broadway to Hollywood, in 1933 and later that year appeared in her final Broadway show, Jerome Kern’s Roberta, where she introduced “Yesterdays.”

In 1942 she was unrealistically portrayed by Irene Manning in Yankee Doodle Dandy. In real life Templeton was short, had a deep, seductive voice, an abrupt manner, and feisty personality.

- Sandra Burlingame

Reading and Viewing

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James Cagney, Joan Leslie

Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942)


Irene Dunne, Fred Astaire

Roberta (1935)

VHS - Film adaptation

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