Charlie Chaplin, Harry Lauder, and Harry Houdini blue plaque in Leeds

City Varieties Music Hall. Harry Lauder, Charlie Chaplin and Harry Houdini performed in this Music Hall built in 1865 for Charles Thornton on the site of the White Swan coaching inn. Famous venue of the "Good Old Days" first broadcast in 1953

Sir Henry "Harry" Lauder (4 August 1870 – 26 February 1950) was a Scottish music hall comedian and singer. He was perhaps best known for his long-standing hit "I Love a Lassie" and for his international success. He was described by Sir Winston Churchill as "Scotland's greatest ever ambassador!"Born in Portobello, Edinburgh, Lauder began his working life in a flax mill and in coal mines before he embarked on a career as a singer and toured with an amateur concert-party. He performed his first self-composed song "I Love a Lassie" and he became a familiar world-wide figure promoting images like the kilt and the cromach to huge acclaim, especially in America. Other songs followed, including "Roamin' in the Gloamin", "A Wee Deoch-an-Doris", and "Keep Right on to the End of the Road".By the 1900s, Lauder had become the highest-paid performer in the world, and was the first Scottish artist to sell a million records. He raised vast amounts of money for the war effort during World War I, for which he was subsequently knighted in 1919. He went into semi-retirement in the mid-1930s, but briefly emerged to entertain troops in World War II. By the late-1940s he was suffering from long periods of ill-health and died in Scotland in 1950.

Source: dbpedia

Sir Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, KBE (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English actor, comedian, and filmmaker, who rose to fame in the silent era. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona "the Tramp" and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry. His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death at age 88, and encompassed both adulation and controversy.Chaplin's childhood in London was defined by poverty and hardship. As his father was absent and his mother struggled financially, he was sent to a workhouse twice before the age of nine. When he was 14, his mother was committed to a mental asylum. Chaplin began performing at an early age, touring music halls and later working as a stage actor and comedian. At 19 he was signed to the prestigious Fred Karno company, which took him to America. Chaplin was scouted for the film industry, and made his first appearance in Keystone Studios's Making a Living (1914). He soon developed the Tramp persona and formed a large fan base. Chaplin directed his films from an early stage, and continued to hone his craft as he moved to the Essanay, Mutual, and First National corporations. By 1918, he was one of the best known figures in the world.In 1919, Chaplin co-founded the distribution company United Artists, which gave him complete control over his films. His first feature-length was The Kid (1921), followed by A Woman of Paris (1923), The Gold Rush (1925), and The Circus (1928). He refused to move to sound films in the 1930s, instead producing City Lights (1931) and Modern Times (1936) without dialogue. Chaplin became increasingly political and his next film, The Great Dictator (1940), satirised Adolf Hitler. The 1940s were a decade marked with controversy for Chaplin, and his popularity declined rapidly. He was accused of communist sympathies, while his involvement in a paternity suit and marriages to much younger women caused scandal. An FBI investigation was opened, and Chaplin was forced to leave the United States and settle in Switzerland. He abandoned the Tramp in his later films, which include Monsieur Verdoux (1947), Limelight (1952), A King in New York (1957), and A Countess from Hong Kong (1967).Chaplin wrote, directed, produced, edited, starred in, and composed the music for most of his films. He was a perfectionist, and his financial independence enabled him to spend years on the development and production of a picture. His films are characterised by slapstick combined with pathos, typified in the Tramp's struggles against adversity. Many contain social and political themes, as well as autobiographical elements. In 1972, as part of a renewed appreciation for his work, Chaplin received an Honorary Academy Award for "the incalculable effect he has had in making motion pictures the art form of this century". He continues to be held in high regard, with The Gold Rush, City Lights, Modern Times, and The Great Dictator often ranked among industry lists of the greatest films of all time.

Source: dbpedia

Harry Houdini (born Erik Weisz in Budapest, later Ehrich Weiss, Harry Weiss, or Harry Weiß; March 24, 1874 – October 31, 1926) was a Hungarian-American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to hold his breath inside a sealed milk can.In 1904, thousands watched as he tried to escape from special handcuffs commissioned by London's Daily Mirror, keeping them in suspense for an hour. Another stunt saw him buried alive and only just able to claw himself to the surface, emerging in a state of near-breakdown. While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake magicians and spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who pirated his escape stunts.Houdini made several movies, but quit acting when it failed to bring in money. He was also a keen aviator, and aimed to become the first man to fly a plane in Australia.

Source: dbpedia

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