AS SEEN IN:
AS PLAYED BY:
Dame Gracie Fields, DBE (9 January, 1898 – 27 September, 1979), born Grace Stansfield, was an English-born, later Italian-based actress, singer and comedienne widely hailed as one of the greatest stars of both cinema and music hall.
In 1939, she became seriously ill with cervical cancer. The public sent over 250,000 goodwill messages and she retired to her villa on Capri. After she recovered, she recorded a very special 78 record simply called Gracie's Thanks, in which she thanks the public for the many cards and letters she received while in hospital. During World War II, she paid for all Servicemen/women to travel free on public transport within the boundaries of Rochdale.
World War II was declared while she was recovering and Fields travelled to France to entertain the troops. In 1940, she married Italian-born film director Monty Banks, following her divorce from Archie Pitt.
However, because Banks remained an Italian citizen and would have been interned in the United Kingdom, she was forced to leave Britain for North America during the war. Although she continued to spend much of her time entertaining troops and otherwise supporting the war effort outside Britain, this led to a fall-off in her popularity at home. She performed many times for Allied troops, travelling as far as New Guinea, where she received an enthusiastic response from Australian personnel. BCnU!