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Mary O'Rourke


(Master Joe Petersen; Mary Lethbridge)

1913 - 1964

The Phenomenal Boy Singer. Born in Helensburgh, one of fourteen children, O'Rourke was brought up in Glasgow. She had success in talent competitions with her brother and moved to London where, despite being a girl, she came to fame as a singing choirboy. With the stage-name Master Joe Petersen, she performed complete with Eton collar. This popular act, promoted by her uncle, brought radio appearances and recording contracts in the 1930s and early 1940s. Having become pregnant, she married an orchestral violinist, George Lethbridge, but the marriage was an unhappy one. Returning to Scotland, her mesmerising voice was popular on the variety circuit in the 1950s.

She died in Glasgow and lies buried in St Peter's Cemetery, Dalbeth.


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