A dancer and chorus singer in a plethora of shows, Roma King was able to claim: “There isn’t a single stage in Britain I haven’t performed on.”
Born into a showbusiness family, she was named after her aunt, Roma Beaumont, the star of several Ivor Novello musical romances in the 1930s and wife of leading impresario Alfred Black – himself the son of George Black, the man credited with turning the London Palladium into a world-class theatre.
In the 1940s, King sang with several London dance bands and, with encouragement from her aunt, appeared in two Eric Maschwitz shows – Love from Judy, which ran at the Saville Theatre from 1952 to 1954, and Summer Song (1956), a pastiche of Lilac Time, this time at the Prince’s. King introduced herself to theatres throughout the length and breadth of Britain by appearing in touring versions of many West End shows.
She met her husband, Peter King, a lighting technician, at the Palladium. After they had married in 1958, Roma King retired, but the couple divorced a few years later.
When she was not performing, King worked as a photographer’s assistant and tour guide, among other jobs. She had begun writing her memoirs and, at the Brighton Fringe in May, she gave a public reading of part of the book. It was to be her last performance.
Roma King, who was born Roma Hodson in Brixton, London, on December 6, 1934, died in Tooting on June 1, at the age of 78.