Margaret Kelly created a new form of dance entertainment in 1932 when she founded the "Bluebell Girls" in Paris, France. The dancers became famous internationally for their grace, style, and nudity. The Lido de Paris came to Las Vegas and changed showroom entertainment in 1958.
Born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1910, Kelly was adopted after her birth family abandoned her. She won the nickname of "bluebell" as a child because of her blue eyes. At age fourteen, she began dancing and traveling throughout Europe with a dance company, but it was her work managing and owning a company that brought her fame.
In 1932, Kelly created the Bluebell dancers. They were known for their height (5 feet 8 inches or taller), ballet training, and long legs. Her company performed at the Cabaret Lido in Paris. She began working with Donn Arden in 1948 and brought the Bluebell girls to the United States. They traveled throughout the country and established companies in Las Vegas and Reno, Nevada, and in New York. Kelly and Donn Arden brought the Lido show to the Stardust hotel on the Las Vegas strip where it stayed. Her decision to go "topless" with some of the performers, she stated, had to do with emphasizing female beauty rather than leaning toward burlesque.
In 1986, the British Broadcasting Company made a miniseries about her life and the Bluebell girls. She was also known for standing up to the Nazis while in an internment camp in France during World War II.
Kelly's legacy is in the style of showroom entertainment she developed. The Bluebell style that Kelly created became the moniker for Las Vegas showroom entertainment.