Russell, Lillian

Russell, Lillian,

1861–1922, American singer and actress, b. Clinton, Iowa. Her original name was Helen Louise Leonard. She first appeared in light opera in 1879. In the early 1880s her introduction by Tony Pastor at his casino in New York City launched her career as "The American Beauty." After 1899 she appeared at Weber and Fields's Music Hall, with the McCaull Opera Company, and later with her own company. She was noted for her flamboyant personality and for her love of jewelry. Her affair with "Diamond Jim" Brady has become a legend.


See biography by P. Morell (1940).

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Russell, Lillian (b. Helen Louise Leonard)

(1861–1922) actress, singer; born in Clinton, Iowa. Popular star of the musical stage, a flamboyant blonde beauty known for her unreliability, she appeared in 24 musicals between 1881 and 1899.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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