JOSH CLIFTON  (1871-1948) 

 

Music-Hall Artiste, comedian, acrobat, producer & director.

Born Joshua Toledano (taking his mothers Hebrew name) on 13 Apr 1870 at 17 Exmouth Court, Mile End, London, England, son of Frank Clifton aka 'Raslus' the renowned gymnast & equestrian clown and Sarah Toledano aka Daniels. 

 

Brother of Mary Clifton (1872- ?) professionally known as Miss Pauline Clifton, acrobat, equilibrist & wire walker until her marriage in 1890 to William Molesworth Lloyd aka Wilkes Lloyd and Joseph Toledano aka Joe Clifton who from 1899 was professionally known as Joe Boganny (1874-1943). From 1890 the family adopted the surname Lazarus. 

 

Married on 7 May 1893 as Joshua Lazarus, son of Frank Lazarus, acrobat, by Licence at Birmingham Register Office, Warwickshire, Eng to Rachel Lyons, daughter of Moses 'Mark' Lyons and Matilda nee Robinson, witnessed by Betsy Yellowitz and Joseph Lazaras. 

 

Father of two daughters, Doris May Lazarus, professionally known as Dolly/Dollie Clifton, comedienne and actress (1894-1979) and Gladys Elaine Lazarus, professionally know as Sonia Seal, comedienne and versatile soubrette in song, dance and story (1901-1995).

 

One of his first appearances in 1874 was as 'Little Toledano' with his father Raslus, and his step brother Alvarez, sometimes appeared performing as the Brothers Alvarez. 

A member of the Elka Troupe and/or Brothers Elka who first appeared in 1885 who later became the Three Brothers Clifton, Royal Clifton Trio etc., in 1891 playing until 1899. 

 

First produced the Five X-Rays in 1908 which ran until 1939. Published in The Era on 29 Apr 1911 - The genial proprietor of the Five X-Rays, Mr. Josh Clifton, comes from a good stock of entertainers, he is the son of Frank Clifton, professionally known as Frank Raslus, the King of the Slack-Rope, who many years ago made a big sensation in his monkey sketch at the Oxford, and a nephew of the late Mac and Alec Daniels, favourite musical clowns. Mr. Clifton started his career as an acrobat at the age of two and a half years, and performed in his fathers troupe as clown, and considered very smart. The troupe appeared at all the principle halls and circuses in England and on the Continent. "Since those days," says Mr. Clifton, "many are the ups and downs that have befallen me, but I will not go into details. My one ambition is for comedy, and comedy has been the success of my acts, clean, good comedy without any vulgarity is my motto." One of Mr. Clifton's most successful acts is that of the Five X-Rays, mad athletes, who have appeared at all the principle halls in Great Britain and on the Continent. The latest addition to Mr. Clifton's enterprises was the establishment, after a deal of patience and expense, of the Six Ceylons, who appeared in "A Dream in an Opium Den" for the first time in London at the Euston Palace on June 20th last, and scored an instantaneous success. 

 

The Six Ceylons first appeared in 1910 and published in The Era was the following: Rarely neat is the acrobatic show known as A Dream in an Opium Den that has drawn the enthusiasm of patrons of the Euston during the week; and it must come as a novelty to old music hall frequenters to discover so much that is clever, agile, finished in technique, combined with a wonderful ensamble in working, as well as an occasional unobtrusive quaintness. The troupe has taken the title Six Ceylons, and consists of one lady and five lithe and graceful men. The scene is an opium den, of which the fair one is the presiding genius. All are dressed as Chinese, and the feats of 'the crowd' are accomplished under the grimacing head. The tumbling throughout is delightful to watch, especially the table work. We are given to understand that this clever combination is already booked far ahead. The Ceylons continued performing until 1920. 

 

At the 2 Apr 1911 Census Joshua Clifton was boarding at 267, Kennington Road, Lambeth, London with his wife Ray Clifton and daughter Doris May Clifton along with Harry George Barnes, Carl McGill, Albert Bruno and his wife & Lydia, all Music Hall Artistes. 

 

By 1939 Variety Artiste Joshua Clifton, separate from his wife, was living at 104, Bryton Terrace, Lambeth. 

 

Died on 2 Feb 1948 at the Veterans & Family Nursing Home, Brinsworth House, Twickenham, Middlesex, England.

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