Posted on 07/16/2015

Photo taken on June  1, 1922

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Ollie Burgoyne
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Ollie Burgoyne

Ollie Burgoyne
Olga 'Ollie' Burgoyne was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1876. She began her stage career in 1901 when she was sixteen, with a group of singing and dancing girls that toured Europe for nine years, returning to the United States in 1910. Between 1910 and 1928 she toured Europe at least fifteen times with various shows. Miss Burgoyne's specialty was dancing and her forte was the Brazilian dance, the snake dance, and the famous Spanish dance. Her arms, hand motions, and the swing of her graceful body in doing these dances caused the theatrical critics to rate her one of the top ranked dancers in the world.

Miss Burgoyne lived in Russia for several years where she operated a lingerie shop in which she employed twenty-seven people, and also sang and danced before notables of that country. She also had the privilege of performing in various other countries, including Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Hungary, France, Switzerland, Egypt, and Turkey, where she mastered the oriental dances. At one time, in the 1920s, she was often billed as an "Algerian Girl" when she performed on the various vaudeville circuits. During her long career she appeared in vaudeville with the Seven Florida Creole Girls (1903) and with her own company in 1922. She was also a feature performer in Follow Me (1925), Make Me Know It (1929), and Lost in Hawaii (1921).

Unlike many of her peers, Burgoyne's career spanned nearly fifty years. In her later years, she taught Russian dancers and worked behind the scenes in the movie industry.

She died April 2, 1974 in Oxnard, California and is buried in Ivy Lawn Memorial Park in Ventura, California.

[Bio and Photo: Blacks in Blackface: A Sourcebook on Early Black Musical Shows (Vol. 2) by Henry T Sampson]