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Dame Gracie Fields's Biography

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Dame Gracie Fields was born Grace Stansfield in Rochdale, England on 9 January 1898.

At just 15 Gracie Fields was already touring professionally as a singer and comedienne with a music hall company.

Soon, Gracie Fields became hugely popular with the British public and she started a career in film.

In 1923 she had married her manager Archie Pitt, and she made films in Britain, but in 1938 she appeared in Keep Smiling, which was directed by Monty Banks and she began making films with him in Hollywood. In 1940 she divorced Pitt and married Banks, who as an Italian stayed in Hollywood, fearing that his Italian nationality would cause problems in Britain in World War II. Gracie's huge popularity in Britain had a temporary blip as she spent most of the years of World War II in America. However, in 1941, for example, she returned to England to entertain the troops and factory workers. The BBC article 'Our Gracie lost her nationality' deals with the difficulty surrounding her marriage to Mr Banks.

After World War II, Gracie Fields settled in Capri, where after the death of Monty Banks, she lived with her third husband Boris Alperovici, whom she married in 1952.

Gracie Fields was made a Dame in 1979, shortly before she died on 27 September 1979.

On 1 February 2010 the BBC reported that previously unreleased Gracie Fields songs dating back to 1938 have been saved from storage, including songs such as Sing As We Go and rare Irving Berlin recordings.

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