Tessie O’Shea
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Tessie O'Shea, Music-Hall Star And Tony Winner, Dies at 82

By WILLIAM GRIMES

Published: April 22, 1995

Tessie O'Shea, a Tony-winning music-hall singer and actress with a bouncy stage personality that cheerfully capitalized on her girth, died yesterday at a nursing home in Leesburg, Fla. She was 82 and lived in East Lake Weir, Fla.

The cause was congestive heart failure, said Kathleen Wampola, a friend.

Miss O'Shea was born in Cardiff, Wales, where her father was a newsdealer, and began singing and dancing as a child. She went on her first music-hall tour at the age of 7 and three years later, after appearing in a starring role at the Bristol Hippodrome, she toured variety theaters throughout Britain. At 15, while singing as a summer replacement in a Blackpool revue, she performed "Two-Ton Tessie from Tennessee," a song that became her anthem. "I've always been fat, but I'm limber," she once told a newspaper reporter.

Ms. O'Shea was a headliner with such British revues as "On With the Show" and "High Time," which went to the London Palladium in the 1940's. Such was her fame that in 1944, a limousine picked her up after a show at the Palladium and whisked her to Windsor Castle, where she sang for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret. She performed for British and American troops during the war, and when it ended she produced "Tessie's Big Show" and "Tess and Bill," which became a BBC radio series.

The New York Times

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IMAGE

Tessie O'Shea in Sailor Beware!

Created by Sommerlad, Gilbert, born 1904 - died 1976