Leah Ottolangui (Stage Name: Lily Pacey)
Born - 1889, Whitechapel, London, United Kingdom
Married - to Solly Taubin (stage names: Jack Pacey, Eddy Bayes)
Vocation - Stage Dancer
Father - Aaron Ottolangui (1861-1936)
Mother - Mary (Miriam) Sharp (1860-1934)
Great Aunt Lily by Bryan LangleyLeah Ottolangui, my great-aunt, was born in 1889, in Whitechapel just outside the "city" of London in the area known as "The East End". The East End in general, and Whitechapel in particular, was at that time home to a very large part of the Jewish population of London.
Leah's parents (my great-grandparents), were, Aaron Ottolangui ( born Middlesex Street, ("Petticoat Lane") London , on 9th May, 1861-1936), a great-grandson of David Ottolangui (Ottolenghi), and Marie (Miriam) Sharp (born New York 1860, died in London 1934) daughter of Judah Sharp, a cigarmaker born 1834 in Rotterdam and Catherine Levy who was born in Holland in 1840. Marie was brought to London by her mother, and actually married Aaron twice. The first marriage was a civil ceremony in Whitechapel Register Office on 31st May, 1879, and then five years later at Bevis Marks Synagogue on 27th January 1884.
It is said that Marie Sharp had been an actress. This may have been from where the young Leah, or Lily as she was called by family and friends, obtained her love of the stage, for at an early age, whilst growing up around the "Buildings" of Bethnal Green, she began to dance, and in the years before the First World War, she was part of a popular dance troupe which even toured India. Back in Blighty, Lily played the popular music halls in a small dance team known as "The Five Bombays". It was during this period that Lily met and later married a self-taught steps dancer by the name of Solly Taubin whose stage name was "Mr. Jack Pacey" - as Jack & Lily Pacey the couple toured the length and breadth of Britain between the World Wars.
Lily eventually retired from the stage and her husband continued to perform as "Eddie Bayes", and even performed a cabaret act at my parents' wedding in March 1936. At the height of his career, Eddie Bayes sustained a knee injury which put an end to his dancing. He continued to perform as a comedian, his theme song was "A Chinese Melody" a comedy song combining phrases in Mandarin, German, French and Yiddish in which he accompanied himself on a Chinese gong. My father last saw Eddie Bayes in person at the Bury Hippodrome (near Manchester) early in 1945. Eddie Bayes' last public appearances were on Radio Luxembourg's English Service (popular in England until the advent of the pirate radio stations of the sixties) where he was known as the "Gong Man" in quiz shows.