Her father was a cotton broker, and her mother, born in Bootle, was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Doyle. James was an architect, who designed the Grand Hotel, Llandudno. Anne attended the private Belvedere School in Liverpool and left at the age of sixteen.
Anne's father paid for her to give a recital at the Wigmore Hall.
Several months later her father lost money in the cotton slump, so Irené went to London to find theatrical work to support herself. She took Ziegler as a stage name when she signed a contract to appear in the musical play, By Appointment, starring Maggie Teyte.
Anne made a test recording for HMV in 1935 but she made very few solo recordings for the company. It was only when she began singing duets with Webster that her recording career as a duettist was established. Here is her test recording from 1935:
The Waltz Song from Merrie England
At the end of 1935 she was principal boy in Mother Goose, her first pantomime, at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool with George Formby and George Lacey. Dorothy Roberts (below) was fourteen at the time of the production and was a member of the chorus of Mother Goose.
December 1936/37EMPIRE THEATRE, Edinburgh
CINDERELLA 1936-1937 Once again Anne was principal boy, this time with Will Fyffe as the Dame.
July 1937. Anne was invited to go the the States to appear in the musical Virginia by Schwartz.
She decided to take the name of Anne Booth for her appearance there and made up a new"life story"
to go with the new name! The show was presented at the Center Theater, New York, but it was not
a great success and Anne did not receive good notices. She returned to the UK after the show ended.
November 1937 Anne appeared in a joint recital with Joseph Farrington, a famous
bass baritone, in Bath.
29 March 1938
Anne and Webster had been singing together in joint engagements in
1937 and 1938 before the divorce from
Paddy Prior came through. The decree was made final in October 1938 and they were
married on 5 November. They made several recordings together in 1939 and took their
"Sweethearts of Song" act to the Variety stage in 1940.