ANNE ZIEGLER and her husband Webster Booth were known as the "Sweethearts in Song" and were the UK's response to the operetta stars Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy.
Ziegler was born Irene Frances Eastwood in Liverpool in 1910. She trained as a pianist and gave her first classical recital in Liverpool in 1933. However, she also was a fine soprano and joined the cast of By Appointment, an operetta at the Adelphi Theatre in London the following year. In 1937 she appeared in Virginia on Broadway.
In 1938 she met the tenor Webster Booth, who had been born in Birmingham in 1902, when they were on the set of the film Faust. She married him on 5 November that year, and, in 1940, they helped the war effort by singing popular duets.
They brought some glamour to wartime Britain. He was tall and handsome, immaculately dressed in tails, and she wore crinolines, sometimes designed by Norman Hartnell. Their signature song was "Only a Rose" and their repertoire included "We'll Gather Lilacs", "The Bells of St Mary's", "If You Were the Only Girl In the World" and "Hear My Song, Violetta".
In 1945 they appeared in the very successful Sweet Yesterday at the Adelphi Theatre, but, on the whole, they preferred to be themselves on stage. …