Man Who Was Old Mother Riley (ebook)

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THE MAN WHO WAS OLD MOTHER RILEY: THE LIVES AND FILMS OF ARTHUR LUCAN AND KITTY MCSHANE by Robert V. Kenny

During the 1930s and 1940s, Arthur Lucan and his wife, Kitty McShane, were among the highest-paid and most-admired variety artistes in Britain. They packed theatres throughout the land, and made a series of zany films with Arthur as the belligerent washerwoman Old Mother Riley, and Kitty as her flighty daughter.

Fame and fortune went to Kitty’s head, and offstage she made Arthur’s life a misery; he collapsed and died—in costume— in May 1954, one week before he was due to appear in court as a bankrupt.

The story of the tears behind the Lucans’ onstage laughter is told here in greater detail than ever before, demolishing old legends, re-assessing the comic genius of Arthur, and revealing the sadness of alcoholic Kitty, who lies today in a forgotten, unmarked grave.