Born in Edinburgh, Scotland and raised in
London, Celia Lipton was performing in leading roles on the
London stage in her teens. She was the daughter of the
famed orchestra leader and impresario Sidney Lipton and
champion ballroom dancer, Marion (Parker) Lipton. As a
patriot of her country she performed for tens of thousands
of service men and women on battleships, in RAF hangars,
hospitals every Red Cross Club in London, the USO and at the
Royal Albert Hall. Celia Lipton was a household name
throughout the United Kingdom. She acted and sang her way
into leading roles on BBC Radio and played the London
Palladium doing her own one woman show at the age of 16, and
later played the lead role in the BBC radio production of
“Showboat.” Celia Lipton recorded for Columbia Records at
the famed Abbey Road Studios.
Among her most memorable as leading lady was in “Get A Load
Of This” at the “Talk of the Town Theater,” the title role
in Emile Littler’s revival of “The Quaker Girl” at the
“London Coliseum” with 670 performances and rave reviews,
and was the youngest star ever to play the role of Peter in
After she crossed the Atlantic, the young
star’s acting and singing careers soared. She appeared on
Broadway in John Murray Anderson’s “Almanac,” and “Maggie.”
On television she starred as Esmeralda on NBC’s “Hunchback
of Notre Dame,” had the leading role in several productions
of the CBS “Goodyear Playhouse” and also appeared in a
number of network daytime dramas.
While enjoying a successful career staring on Broadway and
in television, Celia Lipton met, fell in love with and
married the acclaimed industrialist and inventor, Victor
Farris. At that time she set aside her stage, acting and
singing career to dedicate her time as a wife and mother.
After 29 years of marriage and following her husband’s
passing in tribute to his great work as industrialist,
inventor and philanthropist and a testament to her great
vision, generosity and dedication to her community she
erected the Victor W. Farris Medical Building that sits in
West Palm Beach. In addition, she returned to show business
working on a number of projects. Dame Celia proclaimed as
one of the most “memorable events” of her life was being
invited to London, England to perform in Hyde Park at the VE
Day Celebration. There she sang before approximately one
million people, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the
entire British Royal Family. She would later receive the
title of “Dame Of A Most Venerable Order of St John,” which
was bestowed upon her by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, an
honor that is in the Personal Gift of the Sovereign.
As Chairman for two consecutive years of the American Cancer
Society Ball, Dame Celia produced two gala events in Palm
Beach that raised millions of dollars. The Society
established a national honor in her name.
Dame Celia was inducted in to the Theatre
Hall of Fame with the great stage and film actor, Nathan
Lane in the early spring of 2009.
Dame Celia Lipton Farris was recognized for her dedication
in helping to allay the plight of the world’s less
fortunate. She was one of the earliest and most generous
financial contributors to AMFAR for AIDS research. Dame
Celia donated and raised tens of millions of dollars for
such worthwhile organizations which include the American
Cancer Society, American Red Cross, The Salvation Army,
Children’s Home Society of Florida, United Way – Community
Chest, Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach, Palm Beach
County Historical Society, International Centre for Missing
and Exploited Children, Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Palm
Beach County School of the Arts, Boy’s and Girl’s Clubs, the
Norton Museum of Art and the American Heart Association.
The Palm Beach Chamber of Commerce honored
Dame Celia Lipton Farris three times with their outstanding
citizen award and with the “One and Only” award/
She had for a number of years volunteered for the Red Cross
during her stage, film and recording career performing for
troops in the UK. During her tenure as Honorary
International Chairwoman, the organization presented her
with its highest honor for volunteer service, the Clara
Barton Award. .
Dame Celia Lipton Farris was honored by the Palm Beach
Historical Society with their highest commendation.
She is survived by two daughters Marian
Farris Retterer and Cecile Victoria Farris, four
grandchildren and two great grandchildren.