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Black Tie International: Dame Celia Lipton Farris





                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 “Peter Pan.”   

                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.







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