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Vintage Ziegfeld Girl, Showgirl, Dancer, Singer: "Bessie McCoy"


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Bessie McCoy Davis ... Photo 1: Miss Bessie in her Yama-Yama clown dance costume performing her Yama-Yama dance.

Bessie McCoy Davis ... "Ziegfeld Girl, "Original Yama Yama Girl," the Daffy-dill Girl"

Grew up in a Vaudevillian family whose parents were the notable Irish Clog dancers McCoy and McEvoy along with red headed Bessie and her younger sister Helen ('Nellie') as a duo act billed as the McCoy Sisters. Bessie's first time on stage was at the Smyth Opera House. Bessie went on the road starting in 1904 by the name of 'Lizzie McCoy', then later to Bessie and never looked back ... except for four years when she got married. She would not have been noticed much except for the 1909 musical 'The Three Twins' where she gained major attention for her comical song and dance rendition of the 'Yama Yama Man* which became a number one song and was copied many times by dancers and singers, but Bessie was the best.' Wa on the cover of 8/1908 Theatre Illustrated Magazine.

After the death of her husband she returned to to Broadway in the Musical 'Old Man On The Moon,' and would appear in a few more musicals such as 'Miss 1917' before finally retiring and moving to the French Riviera with her daughter. She died there in August of 1931.


Photo 1: Miss Bessie in her Yama-Yama clown dance costume performing her Yama-Yama dance.

  • Birth Name: Elizabeth 'Lizzie' Genevieve McEvoy
  • Birth Date: 5/17/1884-8/16/1931 (US Census data)
  • Birth Place: New York USA
  • Married: Richard Harding Davis¹ (married 7/8/1912 | died in 1916 | one daughter: Hope Davis)
  • Parents: Lawrence McEvoy (d.1910) | William 'Billy' McCoy (step-father) & Minnie Lee McEvoy
  • Clubs/Theaters: Century Theatre | Globe Theatre | Herald Sq. Theatre | Hippodrome | Majestic
    | New Amsterdam | Palace Theatre | Smyth Opera House |


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