The “Hero” who performed the medley of Hugh Wade’s music at the Colony (see https://elvirabarney.wordpress.com/2012/05/17/two-letters-to-hugh-wade/) and who sent him a telegram in hospital is, I am fairly sure, Hero De Rance. As with so many of the people who crop up on here, information about her is not easy to find. The following is therefore more than usually provisional.

What I do know is that she had a very long career as a composer and pianist mostly working in the theatre. She had appeared on stage as a child performer from the age of ten, then worked as a song plugger before achieving success with her own tunes, some time in the mid-twenties. She wrote a song for Norah Blaney and Gwen Farrar’s show “The Punch Bowl” and collaborated with the prolific lyricist Gus Kahn.

In 1930 she composed “The Journey’s End” to coincide with the film release of Sherriff’s play. Throughout that decade she wrote music for the theatre, including “Bats in the Belfry”, which featured a young Vivian Leigh.Her main employment appears to be as a pianist, providing musical accompaniment for a number of productions, which she continued to do until the 1960s

In 1937 she achieved her highest public profile with “You’re Mine“, chiefly because it was recorded by Richard Tauber. The lyricist was the Paris-born songwriter and impresario, Bruce Sievier. Was Hero also French?

Although most of her lyricists were male, she did collaborate with Winifred May and the novelist/playwright Daisy Fisher. It is very rare indeed to come across such female partnerships in the song-writing catalogues, so deserves a mention if just for that.

In the 1950s Hero was briefly an announcer for the newly formed ITV; her task was to preview the next days schedule.

She was a long term supporter of the Performing Rights Society, having joined in 1926, she was still attending AGMs in the late 1980s. It is from Cyril Erlich’s history of that organisation (Harmonious alliance: a history of the Performing Right Society) that what little information I have is largely gleaned.

Obviously fond of Hugh, I’m assuming she knew him as a fellow-professional but also as an inhabitant of the same social circle, given that Dolly Mayers feels no need to use anything other than a Christian name. A Bloomsbury resident, she lived at Wardour Court , Bedford Street (just off Russell Square) for over fifty years.Apart from the address and telephone number, I can find no reference to birth or death. I think she is a person of some interest and, as ever, if anyone has more information do let me know.

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