JOANE HALL 28th February 1921 – 8th May 2020
Joane was a remarkable lady who was blessed with a great sense of humour, stamina and a zest for life. She was born in Newcastle and joked that she danced her way out of her mother’s womb!
At the age of 14 in 1935 she left home to appear in a pantomime troupe – The Zio Angels. During the Second World War she joined ENSA and entertained our troops overseas including a tour of Africa.
Joane recounted many stories at the CAA about her wartime escapades. One memory she shared was being allocated a cabin en route to Africa with a nun. Apparently Joane had her eye on a handsome sailor but the Nun’s party on board were closely chaperoned, which made any nocturnal liaison Joane had in mind impossible!
During and just after the war Joane worked in theatre as an actress and dancer. Between engagements she had a variety of jobs including working in an ammunition factory, Civil Nursing Reserves and a waitress in an Italian restaurant.
She was a dresser at the London Palladium for numerous stars. Indeed Frank Sinatra insisted on Joane as his dresser whenever he played the Palladium. Joane’s TV appearances as an actress included ‘The Bill’ and ‘Father Ted.’ She also played Vera in the television drama ‘Pat and Margaret’ written by Victoria Wood.
When ‘Cats’ went to Broadway in 1982, the show’s choreographer Gillian Lynne asked Joane to accompany her as her assistant and friend. In 1988 she became Queen Ratling with CAA stalwart Roy Pyke as her escort. Although Joane never married, she says she had received 28 proposals of marriage and was actually engaged at one time to a lion tamer.
She was a great friend of Roy and Debbie Hudd who even named their dogs after her. Dean Caston says how delighted he was when she agreed to do ‘An Evening With Joane Hall’ in March 2017 at the CAA for one of the BMHS Limelight series. Dean visited Joane at her flat in Charing Cross Road several times and was enthralled by her stories.
Sadly Joane was eventually unable to look after herself in her flat, so in early 2019 she moved into a retirement home where she passed away aged 99. Her funeral service at Golders Green Crematorium could only host 8 people because of the covid 19 crisis.
Joane had so many friends who adored her and she was always so popular on her frequent trips to the CAA. The club intend to organise a special memorial celebration of her life next year to mark her centenary.