American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2011 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 26

Valaida Snow


It is a wonder that Hollywood never made movie about Valaida’s life, but they would have had to find a leading lady capable of blowing trumpet, tap dancing and singing, at the very least. Her life was more sensational than her career, and it included time spent in a Nazi internment camp.

Snow grew up in a musical show business family, played black vaudeville as a youngster, joined several colored revues touring Toby time in the South and playing for urban African American audiences in top black venues like Harlem’s Lafayette and Apollo Theatres and Chicago’s Grand Terrace nightspot. Much of her career was spent abroad in places as far ranging as Calcutta, Shanghai and Singapore. One of her last engagements was at the Palace Theatre when the famous Manhattan flagship revived its vaudeville policy in the late 1940s and 1950s.