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Vivian and Rosetta Duncan.

Stage Names

Birth Names

'Duncan Sisters'

Evelyn Duncan 

'Topsy and Eva'

Rosetta "Rose" Duncan (Topsy)

'The Misses Duncan'

Vivian Duncan (aka: Eva)

    Composers, Lyricists, Performers, Dancers and Singers. The Duncan sisters were a very talented family. There were actually three sisters as the Duncan sisters, however Rosetta and Vivian's greatest success came with the play Topsy and Eva which made them a household word back in the day.

    Rosetta Duncan was one of the major female comics of her day. TOPSY and EVA was a musical comedy in three acts by Catherine Chisholm Cushing which was based upon Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin." It was created for the music writing, singing and dance talents of

the Rosetta and Vivian Duncan. Rosetta played the blackface role of Topsy, and played it with such enthusiasm and skill that it was irresistible to most. Her older sister Vivian, played the less glitzy but angel faced Eva, but she had the distinction of being that rarest of beings, the musical comedy ingenue, who could be self-conscious and aggressively coy at the same time and made the audience like it and want more.

     The Duncan Sisters were extremely successful with the Topsy and Eva theme and laid the ground work for many musicals to come with many Stage acts and plots written after them. The Gumm Sisters (Judy Garland) is said to have patterned their acts after the Duncan Sisters. The 1920s saw the creation of "Sitting Pretty," again based on the talents of the Duncan Sisters. In 1946, there was talk of a film being made titled "the Duncan Sisters," tailored after the success of the prior Dolly Sisters film. It would have starred Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable but the film was never made. Another film was "The Broadway Melody," which is said to have been created after the acts of the Duncan Sisters (a bio pic) who were supposed to play the leads but were already engaged in another film titled "It's a Great Life."

    Their career as Topsy and Eva kinda type-cast them, but they made it last for many years. Rosetta died in an auto accident at the age of 65 in 1959.

Birth Place

Birth Date



(E) Los Angeles, CA. 1/21/1893-6/8/1972 n/a n/a
(R) Los Angeles, CA. 11/23/1894-12/4/1959 n/a n/a
  (V) Los Angeles, CA. 6/17/1902-9/19/1986 Nils Asther, Valentín Parera Evelyn

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a A Gay Caballero A Gay Caballero
      I Never Had A Mammy Argentines, The Portuguese and the Greeks, the
      I'm Following You
      When Shall We Meet Again Baby Sister Blues
        Do Re Mi
        I Never Had a Mammy
        Moon Am Shinin'
        Someday Soon (Lyrics)
        When it's Sweet Onion time in Bermuda

Night Clubs



Lido Club Grumman's Egyptian Theatre (6/1927) 1997 - Vaudeville
      Loew's Theatre (New Jersey)      


Ballets / Stage

1915 - Peer Gynt (Evelyn) 1919 - She's A Good Fellow
1927 - Two Flaming Youths (Rosetta) 1920 - Tip Top
1927 - Topsy and Eva 1921 - Lilies of the Field (Evelyn)
1929 - Hollywood Snapshots #11 (Rosetta) 1926 - Topsy and Eva
1929 - It's A Great Life 1958 - Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok
1930 - Voice of Hollywood No. 7 Doing Our Bit
1933 - Surprise (Vitaphone) Ziegfeld Follies
1935 - Broadway Brevities      


Jazz Dance (Vernacular) n/a n/a n/a
Tap Dance      

Dance Partners / Singing Partners


Harriet Hoctor (Topsy and Eva) London Palace Girls (Pickaninnies in Topsy & Eva) 1941 Fort Ord
Myrtle Ferguson Gueneth Omeron (Lido Club)  

Books, Magazine Articles on this dancer ...


Author / Writer

Date Published


Scribner's Magazine J. Frank Davis 4/1925 ??
Dance Lovers Magazine ?? 8/1925 Dance Review Publishing Co.
Who's Who in Comedy Ronald L. Smith 1992 ??

Musicians / Bands



Poets / Writers

Phil Bovero A.B.C. Orchestra with the Silhouettes n/a n/a n/a