Celia Lipton ended her days as a wealthy philanthropist living in Florida. She began her working life at the age of 15 singing with the dance band run by her father, Sydney Lipton, in London. Two years later, she was at the London Palladium supporting Vera Lynn and Max Miller in the revue Applesauce. In the same year, she played opposite the radio comedian Vic Oliver in a George Black musical, Get a Load of This, at the London Hippodrome. She then played the title role in the annual production of Peter Pan at the old Scala theatre.
But her big break came when Jessie Matthews walked out of the lead role in a 1944 revival of the Edwardian musical comedy, The Quaker Girl, ten days before it opened in an out-of-town try-out in Coventry. Lipton took her place and, when the show opened at the London Coliseum, she won great acclaim. The Stage praised her “lovely voice, graceful dancing and excellent diction”.
In 1952, Lipton moved to New York, where she hoped to further her career. She met Victor Farris, whom she first thought was a plumber and then a member of the Mafia. He was, in fact, the owner of 17 companies. They married in 1956 and, although the marriage had its difficulties, stayed together for 29 years. On his death, Farris left her £100 million.
Lipton briefly tried to revive her career, but without success. Instead, she threw herself into charity work.
Celia Lipton, who was born in Edinburgh on December 25, 1923, died in Palm Beach, Florida on March 11, aged 87.
Richard Anthony Baker