Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Hildegarde Conquers The World
As a teenager living in Milwaukee,Loretta Sell wanted to be a concert pianist, instead she became "The Incomparable Hildegarde," (the title is courtesy of uber columnist Walter Winchell) the greatest cabaret entertainer of the twentieth century.
Fellow Milwaukeean Liberace paid close attention to her act,"Hildegarde was perhaps the most famous supper-club entertainer who ever lived,I used to absorb all the things she was doing, all the showmanship she created. It was marvelous to watch her, wearing elegant gowns, surrounded with roses and playing with white gloves on."....I did'nt quite catch that, Lee. Once again....please...."Hildegarde was perhaps the most famous supper-club entertainer who ever lived. I used to absorb all the things she was doing, all the showmanship she created. It was marvelous to watch her, wearing elegant gowns, surrounded with roses and playing with white gloves on."
That's what I thought you said. So, here we go...Milwaukee's Liberace stole his act from Milwaukee's Hildegarde and Las Vegas stole it's style from Liberace, therefore....By the way, did you know that per capita, Wisconsinites visit Las Vegas more than anyone else? Hey, you can put that in your Meerschaum and smoke it.
Hildegarde Loretta Sell was born in Adell, Wisconsin, and raised in New Holstein. She moved to Milwaukee as a teenager. After a short stint in Vaudeville, She went to Paris and gave her first command performance for King Gustov of Sweden. She soon became the sensation of the continent playing all the great rooms in London, Cannes and Brussels. One of her trademarks was the ease at which she would talk to her audiences between songs. She could patter in any language and in the intimate surroundings of a cabaret, it was stunning. From the 40's through the 50's she ruled American night clubs. New York City was now her home, and it was there that she died, at the age of 99, in 2005.