A Tribute to Elsie (1978)

Peter Wallace drew my attention to a tribute to Elsie Carlisle published in the January 1978 issue of The Golden Years, a few months after her death.  He writes: “Bert Read, who worked closely with Elsie both in the Ambrose Orchestra and as an accompanist, paid a warm tribute. Bert had tried, unsuccessfully, to make contact with Elsie”:

There will undoubtedly be a host of tributes to my old pal Elsie Carlisle – but if your readers can bear with one more, here it is. I wonder how many people knew what a warm-hearted and generous person she really was? She was ever-ready with a hand-out, and didn’t seem to mind when she knew she was being taken for a sucker; and I never knew her to refuse any request to appear at Charity concerts – which meant giving up many of her Sundays when, like others in the profession, she could have well done with a hard-earned rest.

It was my privilege, apart from being in the Ambrose Orchestra when she and Sam became great radio favorites, to accompany Elsie on a number of these charity performances – and she would give as much of herself as she would for a Palladium performance.

Off-stage she was a joy to be with; always cheerful, cracking gags, and telling very funny stories in a superb Mancunian accent. A great party-giver and a charming hostess she was at home in any company. Yet secretly, she was undoubtedly a far from happy woman, never having fully recovered from a romance that had soured some years before I met her. Such a wonderful person deserved to have a good marriage, but it would appear that didn’t eventuate – at least, not within the limits of my knowledge. I am very, very disappointed that my efforts to trace Elsie proved fruitless; but I shall always retain the warmest memories of a fine artiste and a gentle, compassionate, woman.  R.I.P.


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"The Idol of the Radio." British dance band singer of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.