QUESTION: What was Sophie Tucker's nickname?
A). Funny lady
B). Last of the Red Hot Mammas
C). The Queen of Hilarity
D). The Russian Roulette
Yesterday's blog was dedicated to Belle Barth, a vaudeville star who moved to Las Vegas in her later years and recorded comedy records filled with offensive content. Today's blog is dedicated to another early comedienne, someone whose name most of us have heard, although we may not entirely be sure why. Sophie Tucker has an all-American name but, like many early entertainers, she was an immigrant to this country. Born in Russia in 1887 to Orthodox Jews, Sonya Kalisch moved with her family at a very young age to Connecticut, where her parents opened a restaurant. A performer from birth, Sophie would sing to customers. It was there she met Louis Tuck, a beer cart driver. The sixteen year old eloped and had a son. Three years later, she was divorced, her son was being raised by her parents, and she was in New York City performing in vaudeville.
Her ample frame made it difficult for Sophie to get starring rolls. For a time, she was forced to cover her face in burnt cork, traditionally known as 'blackface' and highly unacceptable today, and to speak in a southern accent. Audiences had no idea she was both Caucasian and a northerner until her luggage was stolen on during a circuit tour. Her talent won over the crowd, and Sophie became a well-established star. She lamented the end of vaudeville, but adapted well, moving into radio and film appearances. She continued performing and recording until her death in 1966 at 79 years of age.
ANSWER: B) Last of the Red Hot Mammas