Recalling her early years, actress Anne Rogers commented “I was born in Liverpool and got out quick”. She was born on 29th July 1933, the daughter of Patrick and Ellen Rogers who lived at 2 Atkinson Street L3 (now demolished it was adjacent to St Anne Street). The start of the war saw her evacuated to Winsford, Cheshire, to live with James and Jane Galley. For reasons which as far as I can tell have never been explicitly recorded, she never returned to her parents’ household and was brought up by the Galleys, whom she referred to as auntie and uncle.
Her surrogate parents, recognising her musical talents, sent her for singing and dancing lessons but her immediate employment after leaving school was working in a sewing factory. However, she successfully auditioned for a touring production of Snow White, and spent the next couple of years performing the show fourteen times a week. Her big break came in 1954 when she had a minor part in the original West End production of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend. With only a day to go to opening the leading lady was taken ill. Rogers recalls that “ the director said 'can anyone sing a top C?' I put up my hand and said 'I can'. And we opened the next night.". She was just 17 and the role of Polly Browne catapulted her to stardom, playing it in the West End for three-and-a-half years. When The Boyfriend was to open in New York the management would not release her, so another young actress was able to step in and launch her career. Her name was Julie Andrews.
Anne Rogers went on to enjoy a very successful career on stage and TV. She toured the USA as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, for which she received the Sarah Siddons award. She has performed in cabaret in noted London hotels; her one-woman show, Something To Sing About, was very successful; and her recording of The Sound Of Music was a big seller. In 1998 she was in a revival of Gigi staged by the Theatre Under The Stars in Houston, Texas. In London in 2001 Rogers played the central role in Over My Shoulder, a play about 30s musical comedy star Jessie Matthews. In 2005 Rogers was set to play Billy’s Grandma in Elton John’s Billy Elliot: The Musical in the West End, but disagreeable pre-opening changes to her role caused her to regretfully bow out.
She was married to Michael Hall, the son of the famous bandleader Henry Hall.
Anne Rogers' very successful 1967 album - co-starring Patricia Routledge.
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