Tessie O’Shea

Tessie O’Shea was born in Cardiff in 1913. She was known as Two Ton Tessie, reflecting her bulk and girth. She made her solo debut at the age of 12 at the Bristol Hippodrome and never stopped working. She buried her burgeoning weight under loads of comic clothing — complete with oversized hats, striped stockings and elastic boots while belting out such bawdy favorites as “Don’t Have Any More, Missus Moore” and “Hold Your Hand Out, Naughty Boy.” She was a very popular music hall and radio stand-up comedienne. She usually finished her act with a song accompanying herself on the ukulele.

Film appearances were rare, however, she appeared in cameos in both The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966) and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971). In Britain in the 70s she appeared on TV and, of course, always seemed at home on the bawdy stage. Tessie died in Florida, USA in 1995 of congestive heart failure at age 82.

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