A brilliant deadpan stage comic whose film career never really took off, Beatrice Lillie was born in Canada had her first success in the 1910s in London with revues staged by Andre Charlot. She starred in shows by Noel Coward, Shaw and others, including several one-woman shows.
Lillie's unique appeal rarely came across on screen. Her first film, the silent "Exit Smiling" (1926) was a hit, and she shone in the all-star "Show of Shows" (1929). But her film work was spotty from then on: the early musical "Are You There?" (1930), the Bing Crosby musical "Dr. Rhythm" (1938), the stagy British-made "On Approval" (1944) and a cameo in "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956). She went out in style, though, with a brilliant turn as a white slaver in "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (1967).