Dolly Sisters: Jenny and Rosie the 1920s cabaret darlings on Broadway who ruined Harry Selfridge

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  • Janzieska and Roszieska Deutsch born in Budapest, Hungary, in 1892
  • Emigrated to America and became Jenny and Rosie, the Dolly Sisters
  • Their stunning beauty helped them dance from vaudeville to Broadway
  • Harry Selfridge, founder of Selfridges, proposed to Jenny every month
  • Jenny committed suicide in 1941 after near-fatal car crash
  • Rosie attempted suicide but died of heart failure in 1970

By Martha De Lacey

PUBLISHED: 06:38 EST, 31 October 2012 | UPDATED: 06:47 EST, 31 October 2012

They were the celebrity darlings of the 1920s on both sides of the Atlantic.

A mesmerising pair of identical twin sisters - cabaret queens more famous for their stunning looks than their talent.

In many ways, Janzieska and Roszieska Deutch - better known as Jenny and Rosie Dolly - were the first people in the world who were famous simply for being famous.

The Dolly Sisters: Rosie and Jenny - originally Rosika and Yansci - wearing the costumes of showgirls with ostrich feather headdresses, sitting on a low dresser, holding hands, in a dance revue in Paris in 1923

The Dolly Sisters: Rosie and Jenny - originally Rosika and Yansci - wearing the costumes of showgirls with ostrich feather headdresses, sitting on a low dresser, holding hands, in a dance revue in Paris in 1923

And now a stunning Art Deco sculpture remembering the fabulous 'Dolly Sisters' - whose allure was the downfall of many a rich man, including Harry Selfridge, founder of Selfridges - is expected to fetch £200,000 at auction next month.

The Dolly sisters were born in Budapest on 25 October 1892 to a photographer named Julius and Margarethem the original ambitious mother, who had them performing on the American stage aged 13 after the whole family had emigrated to America.

Historical figures: The Chiparas sculpture, left expected to fetch £200,000 at auction next month, and Harry Selfridge, right, who lost most of his £2million fortune thanks to an obsession with the twins

They perfected a single-sex 'tandem' dance act under the name 'The Dolly Sisters' and were making money performing it in beer halls as early as 1907.

But the act itself didn't really matter. Jenny and Rosie were pouting, purring, mirror-image dolls for whom audiences went wild.

Their lack of actual talent was remarked upon, but no one cared - they were stunning creatures who combined an air of innocence with a seductive, racy, wild side.

The stunning ivory and bronze Art Deco sculpture being auctioned in London next month pays tribute to their beauty.

Made in 1925 by Romanian-born Demetre Chiparus, it is expected to fetch up to £200,000 at Bonhams in London on 14 November.

Tandem twins: Rosie and Jeny Dolly were born in Budapest, Hungary in 1892, and made their name in vaudeville before touring the world with their 'tandem' dance act

Tandem twins: Rosie and Jeny Dolly were born in Budapest, Hungary in 1892, and made their name in vaudeville before touring the world with their 'tandem' dance act

In the Bonhams Magazine, writer Neil Lyndon says: 'In the Twenties the Dolly Sisters were celebrities on a scale that dwarfed most movie stars, plutocrats and princes, Yet today not one person in 1,000 could tell you who they were.

'The Dollies were stunningly good looking. Their straight but delicate noses, wide-set eyes and rosebud mouths gave them a seductive air of innocence while their dark eyes and skin suggested depths of gypsy wildness.

'Slight and trim but full-breasted, they were obviously a terrific turn-on for men when they danced together.'

Fit for royalty: Men fell at the feet of the twins, and when they arrived in London in the Twenties they danced for Prince George and Prince Henry, the youngest sons of King George V

Fit for royalty: Men fell at the feet of the twins, and when they arrived in London in the Twenties they danced for Prince George and Prince Henry, the youngest sons of King George V

Thanks to their looks, their vibrant personalities, and the simple fact that there were two of them, men all over the world were smitten, and they managed to climb from the vaudeville stage to the heights of Broadway as cabaret dancing act.

With a penchant for feathers, a knack for dressing identically whether on stage or off, and a routine they perfected by practicing in front of the mirror, the sisters created a dynamic, intriguing, seductive package that men could not resist.

Men fell at their feet, and when they arrived in London in the Twenties they danced for Prince George and Prince Henry, the youngest sons of King George V.

They both married and divorced very young, and soon after became the object of many a devoted admirer, including Harry Selfridge, founder of Selfridges department store in London, who became obsessed with them.

Smitten: Thanks to their looks, their vibrant personalities, and the simple fact that there were two of them, men all over the world were in their thrall

Smitten: Thanks to their looks, their vibrant personalities, and the simple fact that there were two of them, men all over the world were in their thrall

Can you tell us apart: The girls always dressed identically, whether on stage or off

At 67 he was twice Jenny's age when he fell in love with her, but that didn't stop him purchasing t her a chateau in France and proposed marriage every week - never receiving the answer for which he dreamed.

Selfridge showered the twins with gifts, money and jewels in hope of winning their true affections, and even more so when they developed serious gambling addictions.

He paid off their debts with his fortune, and by 1931 was close to bankruptcy after they had whittled away his £2million estate.

But the Depression proved to be their downfall. The free money dried up and in 1933 Jenny was involved in a near-fatal car crash that destroyed her looks forever and led her to suicide in 1941.

Her sister Rosie attempted unsuccessfully to follow her in 1962, eventually succumbing to heart failure in 1970.

The pair had never been able to accept that celebrity can be fleeting.

Fancy footwork: A love of feathers was one of the Dolly Sisters' most distinctive calling cards

Fancy footwork: A love of feathers was one of the Dolly Sisters' most distinctive calling cards

Heartbreakers: The Dolly Sisters stole the heart of Harry Selfridge, and then bankrupted him with their gambling addiction

Heartbreakers: The Dolly Sisters stole the heart of Harry Selfridge, and then bankrupted him with their gambling addiction

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