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Jessie Smither (25 August 188520 October 1960), best known by her stage name Denise Orme, was an Englishmarker music hall singer, actress and musician who appeared regularly at the Alhambramarker and Gaiety Theatresmarker in Londonmarker in the early years of the 20th century.

Early life

The only daughter of Alfred John Smither and Jessicah Henrietta Pococke, she studied at the Royal Academy of Musicmarker (where she won the Wessely Violin Exhibition in 1899) and later the Royal College of Musicmarker where she was 'discovered' as a singer by George Edwardes.


Her first stage appearance was in 1906 in the chorus of The Little Michus, after which she took on the role of Blanche Marie. Later the same year, she then appeared in the title role of See See at the Prince of Wales Theatremarker, then The Merveilleuses into early 1907.

Around the same time (1906), she also participated in gramophone recordings of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado.

She married three times. In Kensingtonmarker Register Office, on 24 April 1907, she secretly married Lord Churston (1873-1930). After the birth of their first daughter, she returned to the stage in The Hon'ble Phil in October 1908, and as Lady Elizabeth Thanet in Our Miss Gibbs at the Gaiety Theatre.

With Churston, she had four daughters and two sons:

In 1928, Orme and Lord Churston divorced. Orme married Theodore Wessell later the same year on 30 October, bearing one son, and, on 11 March 1946, she married Edward FitzGerald, 7th Duke of Leinster.


Denise Orme is mentioned in Masterpiece Theater's classic period drama show Upstairs Downstairs. In the series second season, episode 2 titled "A Pair of Exiles" the character of Sarah(Pauline Collins), who is pregnant with James Bellamy's baby, calls out Orme's name during conference with the Bellamy family, over her pregnancy.

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