The American Connection

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    John first sent a troupe of girls to America in 1900. George Lederer booked them to perform their original Pony Trot. Later at the height of their popularity in New York there were three Tiller lines working on Broadway; The Lollipops and The Sunshine Girls at the Globe Theatre, and 24 Tiller Girls in the Ziegfeld Follies.

    Charles Dillingham and George White had visited The Palace Theatre in London and booked the girls to appear in “Good Morning Dearie” at George White’s Scandals of 1923 and “The Nifties” of 1923. Floorenz Ziegfeld took 48 of the girls under contract for three years for his follies.

    John Tiller opened a dance school at 226 West 72nd Street with offices and a training studio run by Mary Read; a Head Tiller Girl from England who had been one of the 1916 Sunshine Girls in America, She trained American pupils as well as the girls from the United Kingdom. She was a hard taskmaster, but a good business woman who had John Tiller’s full support in everything she did. The girls always called her Miss Read. In the 1920s, John Tiller was regularly crossing the world to finalise contracts. He always made sure his trip ended up in New York so he could meet Mary. John Tiller died on 22nd October 1925 in New York.


    After John Tiller died in 1925 Mary Read continued with the Tiller Girls in America, signing a very profitable contract with RKO studios with many of the girls working in American made films and dancing all over the USA.

    Mary Read and Tiller Girls at RKO

    Many of the girls married and settled in America, most of them dancing and choreographing in American shows.Mary closed the American Tiller School in 1935 and married an American.

    Mary Read Wedding

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