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Legacy Oral History Online Collection

Thelma Langston

Thelma Langston (1909-1992) was born in "nineteen hundred and nine," in San Francisco, California.  Her father, a policeman, died soon after in a street brawl, and Thelma's mother, a frustrated ballroom dancer, concentrated her energy on training Thelma for the stage.  Thelma received her early training in a studio in San Francisco run by the Australian expatriate Doris De Fiddes.  While many wished to become "toe dancers" on stage, Thelma was considered "funny," and was trained in a variety of character dances and slapstick comedy routines. 

Thelma's stage career began around the age of seven with live acts performed on a variety of stages throughout Northern and Central California.  She also became involved with a children's act which accompanied vaudeville performer Wesley Barry.  Included in Thelma's other repertoire was "Russian" acrobatic dance, various ethnic "songs" performed in dialect, and impressions of famous vaudeville personalities such as Sir Harry Lauder.   

Moving to Los Angeles at the age of twelve, Thelma and her mother both worked as extras in the film industry.  Thelma also worked in live shows until she decided to return to San Francisco in early adulthood to work in nightclubs.  Thelma continued to work in the entertainment industry as a choreographer and performer, and in various administrative roles. 

According to the transcript, Thelma had at least one child, William.  Thelma Langston was a resident of San Francisco during the recording of this interview in 1992 and died not long after.

Audio Clip and Transcript

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