American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2012 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.† Page 46

Julian Eltinge

1881 ó 1941


The most famous of female impersonators, Julian Eltinge first performed in drag for the miners who patronized the saloons of Butte Montana. His fatherís disapproval was immediate and harsh, and young Billy Dalton, as he was known, was sent to Boston to live with his aunt, and it was in this city that his career bloomed.

Unlike most female impersonators of that era or since, Mr. Eltinge was successful in a broad range of entertainment: vaudeville, revue, musical comedy, farce and films. He made seven feature films, only one of which was in sound and provided him with the musical comedy format that was most successful for him.

After 1930 Mr. Eltingeís career dissolved into a few nightclub dates that paid him a bare fraction of what he had once earned on Broadway. Laws had been enacted that forbid impersonations of women by men, and Eltinge was deprived of the means to earn his living. He died in Manhattan.