In August of 2013, I wrote an article for eJuggle titled “10 Female Juggling Stars of the Past.” I followed this up with “11 More Female Juggling Stars of the Past” in April of 2015. These two articles became the starting point for Great Female Jugglers of the Past, a book I wrote and published in 2016. Since the publication of those articles and book, I’ve found an enormous number of new photos and new information about the women I wrote about. Some of these new finds have already been used in other articles or will be featured in future articles. I want to use this article to share some new photos and information regarding three women who were at the top of their profession.
I stated in the original article that not much is known about German juggler Lucy Gillet, but what we do know is quite impressive. She juggled six plates while balancing a long bird perch on her chin and a flower pot on her forehead. She also performed nine balls in her act. Despite these incredible toss juggling feats, she was best known for her foot juggling and balancing stunts.
Since that original information was shared, I’ve found out quite a bit more about her. Lucy Gillet was born in Berlin, Germany in 1895 and often performed under the name Lucy Gillette. Her father was juggler Fred Gillet (born Franz Kurweg), who also performed under the name of Fred Martell. Her mother’s name was Zelma. Lucy started juggling at the age of ten. The earliest reference I’ve found regarding her is a newspaper clipping saying that her father was arrested for child cruelty because he was training his 14 year old daughter in juggling and acrobatics. She performed in England in 1908, traveled across Australia in 1913, and toured the USA in 1914 and 1915. She married Aage Diderichsen in 1924 and performed with him as Bob and Lucy Gillette until their divorce in the 1940s. She died in New York in 1975.
Although Lucy was German born and had lived in England for quite some time, she was advertised as “The Lady from Delft (a city in the Netherlands) and dressed in a “quaint Dutch costume” that highlighted her femininity. Her act was set in a kitchen and she mainly juggled with household utensils and furnishings, including plates, chairs, tables, lamps and potted plants. Her act began with Lucy seated on a chair in a Dutch-themed blue setting. She quickly blew out a lamp and began to juggle various items in the room. She balanced a candle on her foot and kicked it to her forehead. She also juggled three chairs. She balanced a table on her forehead while juggling five balls. She then tossed the balls into vases that rested on the balanced table. The finale of her act consisted of balancing a round table on two poles and then letting it fall to her feet, where she then juggled it with her feet.
In addition to the above information, I’ve finally found photos of Lucy Gillet, which you can see below.
I’ve written about Betty Gorham twice. Once was in one of the two articles linked at the beginning of this article, and the second was when I wrote her obituary, which you can read by clicking here. The obituary shares the story of Betty’s life and career, so I won’t repeat myself here. I do, however, want to share many newly discovered photos of the IJA’s first member.
Betty with Harry Lind
Luly Perezoff was a Spanish juggler who was popular in the 1950s and 60s. She was a child prodigy and equaled Kathi Gultini’s feat of bouncing 8 balls off a drum. Luly also juggled 8 balls in the air and performed a well-received act bouncing lower numbers of balls off of three drums. I’ve recently been in contact with Luly’s sister Karol, who has provided new information and many new photos, which you can see below.
We now know that Luly was born Giulia Stutzbarth Perez on September 23, 1940 in Milan, Italy. She was part of the famed Perezoff family, best known for their restaurant juggling act. Luly eventually worked with her sister Ly (Pia Stutzbarth Perez). You can see the two together in some of the photos below. Luly passed away May 15, 2008.
The following three photos show Luly and her sister Ly.
The Museum of Juggling History has 10 balls and 6 rings that were used by Luly Perezoff.