Nellie Breen

Nellie Breen (April 3, 1897[1][2] – April 26, 1986)[3] was an American comedian and dancer.[4] In vaudeville, she appeared in a double act with Lester Allen.[5] Her Broadway theater credits include: Everything (1918), The Passing Show of 1922 (1922), Ginger (1923, as the character Ruth Warewell), Mercenary Mary (1925, as the character Norah), Florida Girl (1925, as the character Betty), and The Desert Song (1926, as the character Susan).[6] In 1922, she did the first tap dance on radio.[7]

Breen was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts,[1] to an Australian mother and Irish-American father who married in Victoria, Australia.[8][9] She died in Santa Clara County, California, aged 89.[3]


  1. Massachusetts, Birth Records, 1840-1915
  2. 1900 United States Federal Census
  3. California, Death Index, 1940-1997
  4. Anne Commire, ed. (January 1, 2007). "Breen, Nellie (c. 1898–1986)". Dictionary of Women Worldwide: 25,000 Women Through the Ages. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018.
  5. Laurie, Joe, Jr. Vaudeville: From the Honky-tonks to the Palace. New York: Henry Holt, 1953. p. 230, 489.
  6. "Nellie Breen Theatre Credits".
  7. Ruth Benjamin; Arthur Rosenblatt (2006). Who Sang what on Broadway, 1866-1996: The singers (A-K). McFarland & Company, Publishers. p. 84. ISBN 978-0-7864-2189-3.
  8. Australia, Marriage Index, 1788-1950
  9. 1930 United States Federal Census

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