The Other (Miss) Miller

Happy (almost) New Year, my friends!

1966 was a good year for old ladies, and hot on the heels of their success with Capitol’s Mrs. Miller, EMI in Britain decided to invest in their own, home-grown singing septuagenarian, Miss Ruby Miller.

Issued by Parlophone (now no longer helmed by George Martin, who left EMI the previous year to set up AIR) Miss Miller’s only 45, Stop and Think backed with Love Shades is a delight. Closer in style I think to Leona Anderson or Hermione Gingold that the wonderfully off-key warbling of our Elva. On promo copies of the single she appears as Ruby Miller, but on the released version, presumably to differentiate between the two women, ‘Miss’ was added to her name.

Incidentally, arranger Arthur Greenslade - who was Shirley Bassey's musical director - also wrote and conducted the arrangement for Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin's Je T'aime...

A former Gaiety Girl – one of the glamorous dancing troupe of fashionable young ladies who became the toast of Edwardian London – by the time Ruby recorded her sole outing she was 77, having been born in 1889. At 59, Mrs. Miller was a mere stripling.

As an actress, Ruby appeared in many films, beginning with the rare British comedy short Frills (1916) and continuing through until the late 1940s. In 1923 she was spotted by an American talent scout and whisked off to Hollywood to appear in the F.B.O. production Alimony (just four years later F.B.O. would become the second Hollywood studio to release a feature-length “talkie”), and towards the end of her cinema career she appeared alongside Vivien Leigh and Ralph Richardson in Alexander Korda’s production of Anna Karenina.

While appearing in films, she continued her career in theatre. In 1921 she starred in the Edge of Beyond, with a new young talent by the name of Basil Rathbone, and in1924-25 she appeared on tour in Arnold Ridley’s celebrated Ghost Train. In the early 1960s wrote her autobiography Champagne From My Slipper, and in 1962 she was awarded the ultimate showbiz accolade, starring as the “victim” in an episode of the long-running TV show This Is Your Life.

Ruby died in 1976, just a few months shy of her 87th birthday. But what a life she had.

Enjoy!

Download Stop HERE



Download Shades HERE

No comments:

Post a Comment