|Born||May 20, 1906(1906-05-20)|
|Died||March 12, 1938(1938-03-12) (aged 31)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Life and careerBorn in Warsaw, Poland, Roberti was the daughter of a clown and as a child performed in the circus as a trapeze artist, and as a vaudeville singer. As the family toured Europe and Asia, Roberti's mother left her husband, settling in Shanghai, China where the younger Roberti earned money singing. They moved to the United States in the late 1920s where Roberti began singing in nightclubs. She made her Broadway debut in You Said It in 1931, and with its success became an overnight sensation. She also appeared in the short-lived Gershwin musical Pardon My English in 1933.
She moved to Hollywood and during the 1930s played in a string of films. Her sexy but playful characterisations, along with the unusual accent she had acquired during her years in Europe and Asia, made her popular with audiences.
She starred in Edward F. Cline's movie Million Dollar Legs (1932) as "Mata Machree, The Woman No Man Can Resist", a Mata Hari-based spy character who is hired to undermine the President of Klopstokia (played by W. C. Fields) in his efforts to secure money for his destitute country. Her plan is to seduce the athletes that Klopstokia is sending to the Olympic Games, and thereby prevent them from medaling. Highlights of the film include Mata Machree's steamy rendition of "When I Get Hot in Klopstokia", and the dance she performs to inspire Fields's opponent in the weightlifting competition.
She found success as a comedian, and was also popular as a singer on radio. Roberti made very few recordings:
- Sweet And Hot (TCL-1461) 3-10-31 - (Brunswick private unissued recording)
- Ha Ha Ho! (TCL-1462) 3-10-31 - (Brunswick private unissued recording)
- My Cousin In Milwaukee 1/26/33 (radio broadcast)
- Take A Number From One To Ten (LA-227) 10-5-34 (Columbia 2967-D)
- College Rhythm (LA-228) 10-5-34 (Columbia 2967-D)
- My Cousin In Milwaukee (B-12897-B) 1-18-33 (Brunswick unissued, issued on an Epic 2-LP set in the 1970s, credited to Roberti)
Roberti replaced Thelma Todd in a couple of films after the death of Todd, but her health was failing due to heart disease. She began to work less frequently although two days before her death she performed a radio show with Al Jolson.
According to her friend and co-star Patsy Kelly, Roberti died suddenly from a heart attack while bending to tie her shoelace. She is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.
- Dancers in the Dark (1932)
- Million Dollar Legs (1932)
- The Kid from Spain (1932)
- Three-Cornered Moon (1933)
- Torch Singer (1933)
- College Rhythm (1934)
- George White's 1935 Scandals (1935)
- The Big Broadcast of 1936 (1935)
- Nobody's Baby (1937)
- Pick a Star (1937)
- Wide Open Faces (1938)
- Undersea Revue (1928)
- Hollywood Rhythm (1934)
- At Sea Ashore (1936)
- Hill-Tillies (1936)
- Lyda Roberti at the Internet Movie Database
- Lyda Roberti at the Internet Broadway Database
- Lyda Roberti at Find a Grave
|Date of birth||May 20, 1906|
|Place of birth||Warsaw, Poland|
|Date of death||March 12, 1938|
|Place of death||Glendale, California, U.S.|