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Florence Desmond

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Florence Desmond
Florence Desmond (1).jpg
Florence Dawson

(1905-05-31)31 May 1905
Died16 January 1993(1993-01-16) (aged 87)
Years active1930-1969
Spouse(s)Tom Campbell Black (1935-1936) (his death)
Charles Hughesdon (1937-1993) (her death)

Florence Dawson (31 May 1905 – 16 January 1993), better known by her stage name Florence Desmond, was an English actress, comedian and impersonator.


Early life and career

Born in London in 1905, Desmond was educated at the Dame Alice Owen's School in Islington. Her brother, Fred Desmond, was a comedy acrobat from the "Desmond and Marks" double act.

She began her stage career at the age of ten. Upon leaving school in 1920, she embarked on a long and successful career in the theatre, especially as an impersonator of famous stars. She appeared extensively in radio, theatre and occasionally in the cinema.

Her recording of the risqué song "The Deepest Shelter in Town" has been featured in multiple World War II music compilations.

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1959 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at London's Adelphi Theatre.

Personal life

Florence Desmond & Campbell Black
Florence Desmond & Campbell Black

She was married twice, first to the aviator Tom Campbell Black from 1935–1936 and, after Black's death, to aviator and insurance broker Charles Hughesdon from 1937 with whom she lived at Dunsborough Park in Ripley, Surrey.[1][2] She died in Guildford, Surrey, in 1993 aged 87, where a ward was named after her at St. Luke's Hospital as well as a day unit at the Royal Surrey County Hospital.


  • Still Dancing, 1925–1926
  • This Year of Grace, 1928
  • Why Not To-night?, 1933–1934
  • Streamline, 1934
  • Funny Side Up, 1939–1940
  • Apple Sauce, 1940–1941
  • If the Shoe Fits, 1946
  • Under the Counter, 1947


Year Title Role Notes
1930 The Road to Fortune Toots Willoughby
1931 Sally in Our Alley Florrie Small
1932 Murder on the Second Floor Lucy
The Marriage Bond Elsie
Nine till Six Daisy
High Society Florie
Impromptu Herself Short
The River House Ghost Flo
1933 Radio Parade Herself
Long Live the King Florie Short
My Lucky Star Mlle. de Capo
Mr. Skitch Florence Desmond
I am Suzanne Voice, Uncredited
1934 Gay Love Gloria Fellowes
1935 No Limit Florrie Dibney
1936 Keep Your Seats, Please Florrie
Accused Yvette Delange
1938 Kicking the Moon Around Flo Hadley
1940 Hoots Mon! Jenny McTavish
1950 Three Came Home Betty Sommers
1956 Charley Moon Mary Minton
1969 Some Girls Do Lady Manderville (final film role)
Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Texaco Star Theater Episode: "18 January 1949"
1951 Your Show of Shows Episode: "15 December 1951"


  1. ^ "Charles Hughesdon, Esq, AFC, FRAeS". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
  2. ^ Franks, Adrian. "A potted history". Dunsborough Park. Archived from the original on 17 March 2020. Retrieved 3 January 2010.
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Florence Desmond
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