February 23, 2012

Lily Elsie

 "I have never been fool enough to give my heart to one of them, and so they think it must be worth having!"
- Lily Elsie
In  1886, one of the most beautiful women in human history was born..... Her name was Elsie Hodder. Soon to be called ‘Little Elsie,’ started acting when she was only 4 years old. The name she earned because of her sometimes exhausting shyness. One of the leading roles she played as a child was the part of Little Red Riding Hood.
The name ‘Little’ no longer applied to the young adolescent Elsie, so she adopted the name ‘Lily Elsie’ around 1900. By the time Elsie was 20 years old, she starred in over twenty productions! She was known for her charm and rare beauty. It made her one of the most photographed women in the Edwardian Era... absolutely beautiful from every angle. Her big break through was the the operetta ‘The Merry Widow’ by Franz Lehár. Elsie wore designs by Lady Duff Gordon, a leading fashion designer at the time, making her a true Edwardian style icon.
Elsie was very popular, she was worshiped for each performance by her dedicated fans and of course by strapping young men. Not only was she gorgeous, but she was said to be mysterious and intolerably hard to get. Many have tried throughout her young years, driving her to make statements such as; "I'm always rude to men. And the ruder I am the more they like me!" Elsie received the most extravagant gifts from her admirers.
November 1911, Elsie finally found a man ‘suited’ for marriage. The then 26-year old Major Ian Bullough was the son of a wealthy textile manufacturer from New York. Soon after their wedding, Ian wanted Elsie to slow things down and retreat from the stage. At first she didn’t, but after a few years of acting in plays and in movies like ‘The Great Love’ (1918) with Lillian Gish, Elsie moved to Gloucestershire with her husband. This was a welcome change for Elsie, since her health was said to be poor throughout her life and she was still experiencing a lot of stress from the stage life.
For a few years she enjoyed fox hunting and visiting social events. Elsie stayed in retirement for about seven years before starring in ‘The Blue Train’ and in 1928 her last show ‘The Truth Game’.  Even after the period of rest, Elsie never really recovered (mentally and physically) and she was rumored to be ‘difficult and precarious’ which put a lot of stress on her (unhappy) marriage. Her husband was troubled himself; he struggled with alcoholism. In 1930 the couple divorced.
In her later years, Elsie’s health deteriorated and she suffered from hypochondria. She was reported to be submitted to several Swiss sanatoria.  Elsie was diagnosed as having serious psychological ailments and underwent a lobotomy.  She spent the last two years of her life living at St. Andrew's Hospital in London where she died December 16, 1962 at age 76.


  1. Wat een beauty!

    (en wat een prachtige outfits en sieraden)

  2. Oh, wow, I love the 50s!!! I just found your blog and I'm definitely gonna look at it all the time now!! *follows* ;)


... it makes my day!