American Vaudeville Museum

All material © 1998-2010 American Museum of Vaudeville, Inc.  Page 29

Lola Montez

Hands down, the most talked about woman of her era, Lola Montez was a spirited personality first, a beauty second and a dancer third.  She scandalized much of Europe, nearly toppled King Ludwig from his Bavarian throne, conducted romances with several princes, various writers and musicians, and numbered Franz Liszt, Alexander Dumas, Victor Hugo and Honoré de Balzac among her admirers.  She married a number of times, usually to escape situations of which she was, at least, partly responsible.

Montez toured the world from England to India, Republican France to Imperial Russia, and much of the USA.  Her success as a dancer could not survive the gradual fade of her beauty.  Critics had never taken to her theatrical work and the ranks of her male admirers thinned as Lola entered her thirties.  Savvy and practical to the end, Lola turned into a lecturer on a variety of subjects.  In some subjects she was reasonably well-informed and had good instincts.  In others she did not allow ignorance to deter pronouncements.  Her later audiences were as predominately female as her earlier ones had been male.  Some saw Lola Montez as the harbinger of a modern woman.