Born in Dallas, Texas, she was a member of her father's theatre company from the age of three and became known as "The World's Youngest Shakespearean Actress". A prolific stage performer, she is also reputed to have appeared in over 200 short silent comedies and westerns. She also proved an accomplished comedienne, often cast in mildly risqué roles as thrill-seeking playgirls. Her films include Speed Girl (1921), Monsieur Beaucaire (1924) and She's a Sheik (1928). She survived the transition to sound, appearing in musicals like Rio Rita (1929) and 42nd Street (1933), but when her Hollywood career flagged she moved to London with her husband Ben Lyon (1901-79). They remained there throughout the war years, beginning the popular radio show Hi Gang! in 1939. Together they enjoyed long-running successes on radio and television, especially with the comedy series Life With the Lyons (1955-60). A dedicated entertainer of US servicemen, she is said to have been the first woman ashore following the D-Day landings in 1944 and was awarded the American Medal of Freedom in 1946 for her war work.
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