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Kelly, Margaret, 1910-2004


Dancer Margaret "Miss Bluebell" Kelly was born in Dublin, Ireland on June 24, 1910. According to an oft-repeated anecdote, she received her nickname as a young girl from a doctor who was mesmerized by her clear blue eyes. In 1930, she began dancing in Paris for Folies-Bergère. By 1932, she created her own line of dancers called the Bluebell Girls while at the Folies-Bergère. She married Marcel Leibovici, a pianist and composer at the Folies-Bergère in 1939, and they had four children: Patrick, Francis, Florence and Jean-Paul. During World War II, Leibovici was imprisoned by the Germans during the Nazi occupation of Paris. Following his escape from a concentration camp, the couple went into hiding for almost two and a half years.

In 1947, Kelly began her life-long collaboration with the American choreographer and producer, Donn Arden, at the Lido de Paris. She was well-known for her high standards; to be a Bluebell Girl meant that one had passed a rigorous audition process. The Bluebell Girls went on to become a global organization by the end of the 1950s, and appeared in variations of the Lido de Paris all over the world. They first came to Las Vegas, Nevada in 1958 as part of the Lido de Paris show at the newly-opened Stardust Hotel. By 1974, the shows Hallelujah Hollywood and later Jubilee! at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas would take this troupe to the pinnacle of its fame. Margaret Kelly was awarded an Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in 1996, as well as the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor for her 72 years of professional work in dancing. Kelly passed away in 2004, and is buried in Paris' Montmartre Cemetery.


"Margaret Kelly." Guardian. Accessed January 23, 2019.

Goodwin, Joanne. "Margaret Kelly." Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Accessed January 23, 2019.