American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2010 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 14

Harry Lauder

1870 - 1950

Perhaps the first vaudeville performer to achieve star status throughout the English (and Scottish) speaking world, Harry Lauder remained a favorite with international audiences for more than thirty years.  His debut as a singer of comic songs began in 1882 when he was not yet twelve. 

Harry was a beloved entertainer.  His act was a blend of storytelling and sly humor with sentimental ballads like “I Love a Lassie,” “Roamin’ in the Gloamin’,” and “The End of the Road,” and comic songs such as “Stop Yer Tickling, Jock” which he giggled more than sang.  His last performance, a year before his death, took place in 1949, although he had not worked full time since the early 1930s.  His act was longer than most headliners and the audience patiently waited as his accompanist played interludes while Harry ducked back stage for a quick change of costume.

He had begun life as a poor lad whose family and community were destined for the hard labor of coal mines in Scotland.  Schooling was catch-as-catch-can.  With pluck, wit, a sense of self-worth and fair dealings, Harry Lauder transformed his life but stayed true to simple values as he rose in the entertainment world to become a star of British Music Hall, American Vaudeville, Australian Variety, records, radio and films, and be knighted as Sir Harry.