January 1, 1928
Margaret Shorey, also known as Peggy Shorey, was the first female foil for Pepito the Spanish Clown, circa 1924-1928. She sang, played the guitar like a Spanish senorita, did a “snake-charmer” number with her trumpet, and assisted Pepito with the clown routines. I believe Margaret quit Pepito’s act in January of 1928.
Last year, I unearthed a little gem: a 1925 newspaper feature article about Pepito the Spanish Clown and “Peggy” Shorey.
In 1923, Mary Pickford had been a sensation as a mandolin-playing waif from Spain in the movie “Rosita,” and doubtless this made an impression on the Barcelona-born Pepito, who named their act “Pepito and Rosita.” As “Rosita,” Margaret Shorey served as the straight-woman and foil to Pepito’s clown antics, and also provided musical entertainment while he changed scenes or props.
Pepito and “Peggy” were never married. After Margaret Shorey and Pepito parted ways in January, 1928, she went on to marry in 1929 the prolific movie actor Frank Mayo, Jr. It was a second marriage for Mayo, who had recently been granted an annulment from notorius actress Dagmar Godowsky.
In my research, I have not yet found out what became of Margaret Shorey, aka Margaret Louise Mayo, after the 1930 Census which shows her living in Beverly Hills with her husband Frank Mayo. I have reason to suspect that Margaret Shorey died in 1957 under the name Margaret Louise Swails, in Orange, California, and am working hard to find her living descendants.
After Margaret Shorey and Pepito parted ways in early January, 1928, Pepito was booked to perform as a clown in the live circus-themed stage “Ballyhoo” which preceded each showing of Charlie Chaplin’s new movie “The Circus” at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood.
It was at Grauman’s that Pepito first performed with his future wife Joanne, who went by the stage name Joan Falcy. Pepito and Joanne were hired by Sid Grauman separately, but it was Charlie Chaplin who paired them up as a “clown and ballerina” act. Joanne was always proud to say that Charlie Chaplin was their matchmaker.
The article (see link below) smacks of melodramatic sensationalization of what may have been an actual event, for the purposes of promoting vaudeville ticket sales. Margaret Shorey’s father was a prominent Los Angeles newspaperman named Frederick North Shorey, and he may have played a hand in placing this feature article in several newspapers around the country.
Many thanks to Lee Shorey, great-nephew of Margaret Shorey, and his wife and Kathy Shorey, for their contributions and allowing me to interview them on the telephone.
If you have any information about Margaret Shorey, please contact me using the “Email Me” link at the bottom of this page.