2 3 Throwback Thursday and Bessie McCoy | Ballet Webb

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Throwback Thursday and Bessie McCoy

Throwback Thursday and Bessie McCoy

Born in Ireland in 1888 as Elizabeth Genevieve McEvoy, Bessie McCoy was a vaudeville star best known for her 1908 song and dance routine called The Yama Yama Man. Because of this, she was called The Yama Yama Girl. During the 1910s she was so popular that people dressed up like the Yama Yama Girl for Halloween.

Bessie’s parents had a clog dancing vaudeville act called McCoy and McEvoy. Thus, she and her sister became chorus girls in their teens. Bessie went on to appear in Broadway musicals and her breakout role came in the play The Echo. It was in the revue called Three Twins that she sang the Yama Yama Man song.

During this period she met war correspondent Richard Harding Davis and they married in 1912 when she was 24. Sadly, he died of a heart attack in 1916. After his death she retired from performing and she and their daughter Hope moved to his estate in Connecticut.

In 1931, while in France with her daughter, Bessie died after an emergency operation. It was August 16th.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Secret #305:
“Bessie McCoy was known as ‘The Yama Yama Girl’”.

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“An artist is somebody who produces things that people don't need to have.”
― Andy Warhol, Andy Warhol, Thirty Are Better Than One

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