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Roscoe Ails was born on January 30, 1890, in Vanceburg, Kentucky, as Roscoe Cleveland Ails. He was an actor, known for “See, See, Senorita” (1935), The Policy Girl (1934) and Darling Enemy (1934). He was married to Billie Shonnae, Shirley Dahlman (aka Shirley Dahl, actress) and Eva Tanguay. He died in August 1986 in St. Louis, Missouri. Vaudevillian Roscoe Ails worked in the early 1930s with his wife, Shirley Dahl, as well as Pearl Osgood, who appeared on Broadway in ‘Flying High’. The local theatres of Portsmouth at one time or another featured the talent of Roscoe Ails in the age of live shows.
Ails was born and reared right across the Ohio River in Lewis County, Kentucky. Not much is known about his early life, except that at some point the family moved to Portsmouth. Roscoe was to live in Portsmouth and showed talent at an early age. As he matured, he became a handsome young man and would get many glances from the ladies. He would move on to make his mark in vaudeville and silent movies. He was a song and dance man with a comedic twist.
The Portsmouth Times on May 19, 1930, announced that Mr. Ails was married in New York City to Miss Shirley Dahl. The paper reported that Ails, who starred in “The New Moon,” has sent this information to his many friends in Portsmouth and Lewis County, Kentucky. Miss Dahl, who is on the Keith-Albee vaudeville circuit and formerly was involved in vaudeville with Mr. Ails and their romance started at that time. After an extended honeymoon, Mr. Ails and the bride will come to Portsmouth to visit friends.
His career progressed upward and throughout his life, he got involved in many a romance and in one case murder! The newspapers of Dallas printed a story of mystery and romance in which Roscoe became involved. It was reported that George Alfred Rosenfield Jr. died on 24 Dec 1952. The story went on that “Wednesday, December 24, 1952, Dallas, Texas, Strip Teaser Billie Shonnae was freed under bond of $5,000, on a charge of murder in the fatal shooting of the former cafe operator, Alfred Rosenfield, Jr., he was 38 years old. Roscoe Ails, 54-year-old comedian, remained in jail on a murder charge in the slaying. A scheduled examining hearing for the two before Justice of the Peace, Glenn Byrd was postponed until 2:00 pm Friday, December 26, 1952. The State agreed to the bond following a conference between defense and prosecution attorneys. No bond was requested for Ails. The examining hearing was postponed after the State asked more time to subpoena its witnesses. The balding comedian, dressed nattily in a grey suit and the well-groomed stripper sat together and talked in whispers during their appearance. Her bond was posted by her Attorney. Attorney, Maury Hughes, said he believed her family would meet her in Dallas or some other north Texas City for a Christmas reunion. She has told investigators that she was born in Fisher, Louisiana and that her mother presently lives at Port Arthur, Texas. The shapely 28-year-old, who danced as the “Flame of New Orleans”, also has a sister in Oklahoma. She has described the shooting as a gun duel between the night club comedian and a frustrated suitor who threatened to shoot the lock off their Dallas apartment. Hughes said Ails and the dancer have married three years ago.”
So it was with Roscoe Ails – always in the spotlight and a true thespian all his life. For the answer to who shot Mr. Rosenfield – that may be a case for “Sherlock Holmes!”
This writer’s opinion is their own and not the opinion of this newspaper
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