Madame Tussauds (UK //, US //; the family themselves pronounce it //) is a wax museum in London with branches in a number of major cities. It was founded by wax sculptor Marie Tussaud. It used to be known as "Madame Tussaud's"; the apostrophe is no longer used. Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying waxworks of famous people.
Marie Tussaud was born as Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, who was a physician skilled in wax modelling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling.
Tussaud created her first wax sculpture in 1777 of Voltaire. Other famous people whom she modelled at that time include Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. During the French Revolution, she modelled many prominent victims. She claims that she would search through corpses to find the severed heads of executed citizens, from which she would make death masks. Her death masks were held up as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris.
She inherited the doctor's vast collection of wax models following his death in 1794, and spent the next 33 years travelling around Europe. She married Francois Tussaud in 1795, and the show acquired a new name: Madame Tussaud's. In 1802, she accepted an invitation from Paul Philidor, a magic lantern and phantasmagoria pioneer, to exhibit her work alongside his show at the Lyceum Theatre, London. She did not fare particularly well financially, with Philidor taking half of her profits.
She was unable to return to France because of the Napoleonic Wars, so she traveled throughout Great Britain and Ireland exhibiting her collection. From 1831, she took a series of short leases on the upper floor of "Baker Street Bazaar" (on the west side of Baker Street, Dorset Street, and King Street), which later featured in the Druce-Portland case sequence of trials of 1898–1907. This became Tussaud's first permanent home in 1836.
By 1835, Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London and opened a museum. One of the main attractions of her museum was the Chamber of Horrors. The name is often credited to a contributor to Punch in 1845, but Marie appears to have originated it herself, using it in advertising as early as 1843.
This part of the exhibition included victims of the French Revolution and newly created figures of murderers and other criminals. Other famous people were added, including Lord Nelson and Sir Walter Scott.
Some sculptures still exist that were done by Marie Tussaud herself. The gallery originally contained some 400 different figures, but fire damage in 1925 coupled with German bombs in 1941 has rendered most of these older models defunct. The casts themselves have survived, allowing the historical waxworks to be remade, and these can be seen in the museum's history exhibit. The oldest figure on display is that of Madame du Barry. Other faces from the time of Tussaud include Robespierre and George III. In 1842, she made a self-portrait which is now on display at the entrance of her museum. She died in her sleep on 15 April 1850.
By 1883, the restricted space and rising cost of the Baker Street site prompted her grandson Joseph Randall to commission the building at its current location on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries were opened on 14 July 1884 and were a great success. However, Randall had bought out his cousin Louisa's half share in the business in 1881, and that plus the building costs meant that the business was under-funded. A limited company was formed in 1888 to attract fresh capital but had to be dissolved after disagreements between the family shareholders, and Tussaud's was sold to a group of businessmen in February 1889 led by Edwin Josiah Poyser.
Edward White was an artist who was dismissed by the new owners to save money; he allegedly sent a parcel bomb to John Theodore Tussaud in June 1889 in revenge.
The first sculpture of a young Winston Churchill was made in 1908, with a total of ten made since. The first overseas branch of Madame Tussauds was opened in Amsterdam in 1970.
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Madame Tussaud's wax museum has now become a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating (until 2010) the London Planetarium in its west wing. Today's wax figures at Tussauds include historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars, and famous murderers. It is known as "Madame Tussauds" museums (no apostrophe) and is owned by a leisure company called Merlin Entertainments, following the acquisition of The Tussauds Group in May 2007.
In July 2008, Madame Tussauds' Berlin branch became embroiled in controversy when a 41-year-old German man brushed past two guards and decapitated a wax figure depicting Adolf Hitler. This was believed to be an act of protest against showing the ruthless dictator alongside sports heroes, movie stars, and other historical figures. However, the statue has since been repaired and the perpetrator has admitted that he attacked the statue to win a bet. The original model of Hitler was unveiled in Madame Tussauds London in April 1933; it was frequently vandalised and a 1936 replacement had to be carefully guarded.
In November 2015, Madame Tussauds announced that it would open a museum in New Delhi in 2017.
American singer Nicki Minaj's statue at the Las Vegas museum was provided extra security following an act of vandalism by one of her fans who took some "inappropriate" photos in June 2015.
In January 2016, the statue of Adolf Hitler was removed from the London museum in response to an open letter sent by a staff writer of The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, followed by significant support for its removal from social media.
- Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Berlin, Germany
- Blackpool, United Kingdom
- Istanbul, Turkey
- London, United Kingdom
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Vienna, Austria
- Hollywood, United States
- Las Vegas, United States
- Nashville, United States (opening Spring 2017)
- New York, United States
- Orlando, United States
- San Francisco, United States
- Washington D.C., United States
In popular culture
Celebrity poses with their wax figures
Many times celebrities pose like their wax figures as pranks and publicity stunts.
- On 3 November 2009, the museum's New York City branch was featured in a segment on NBC's The Today Show in which weatherman Al Roker posed in place of his lifelike wax figure for two hours and startled unsuspecting visitors, who were at first led to believe they were viewing Roker's wax counterpart.
- In 2010, Ozzy Osbourne did similarly in New York to promote his Scream (2010) album.
- In 2012, One Direction posed as their statues in the London museum, as a prank for the TV series Surprise Surprise.
- National Basketball Association players Carmelo Anthony and Jeremy Lin pranked fans during the unveiling of their statues at the New York and San Francisco museums, respectively.
- In 2015, Arnold Schwarzenegger posed as the Terminator statue in the Hollywood museum, to promote a charity event.
- In Alfred Hitchcock's The 39 Steps, Mr. Hannay tells Pamela that his uncle is featured in Madame Tussaud's murderer section and that one day she will be able to take her grandchildren to Madame Tussaud's to see him.
- Parts of the film Fan (2016) were shot at Madame Tussauds, making it the first Indian film to be shot there.
- Madame Tussauds features in the film Shanghai Knights (2003).
- Madame Tussauds is featured in an Assassin's Creed Unity side mission, where the player is tasked with retrieving the severed heads of which Madame Tussauds was commissioned to make replicas.
- There is a brief reference to Madame Tussaud's work in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Mazarin Stone."
- In Elizabeth Bowen's novel The Death of the Heart (1938), Portia and Eddie have tea at Madame Tussaud's and Portia is disappointed that the waitresses are real and not made of wax.
- In Gilbert and Sullivan's song "My Object All Sublime", from The Mikado (1885), the title character sings of punishments fitting the crime, including:
- The amateur tenor, whose vocal villainies
- All desire to shirk,
- Shall, during off-hours
- Exhibit his powers
- To Madame Tussaud's waxwork.
- Madame Tussauds is the focus of Steve Taylor's song "Meltdown (at Madame Tussauds)", which describes someone turning up the thermostat and causing the wax figures to melt.
- The Beatles had their wax figures featured along with cardboard cutouts of various famous people in the cover art for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
- Several sculptures from the London branch appear in the music video "Pop!ular" by singer/songwriter Darren Hayes.
- Madame Tussauds sculptures are used on the cover of Rick Wakeman's album The Six Wives of Henry VIII. A waxwork of Richard Nixon also appears in the background.
- Marie Tussaud is mentioned in The Scarlet Pimpernel (first run on stage in 1903, first publication 1905).
- The museum was featured on the History Channel's series, Life After People: The Series.
- In 2015, the judges of NBC show America's Got Talent posed in the New York Madame Tussaud's location and led visitors to believe that they were part of a special display, when they were actually real people. "Episode 18". America's Got Talent. Season 10. NBC.
- Tussauds appeared in an episode of Living TV's paranormal programme Most Haunted.
- The Doctor Who serial Spearhead from Space features a scene at Madame Tussauds.
- Madame Tussauds in Las Vegas was featured in Travel Channel`s Ghost Adventures.
- In the Parks and Recreation episode "Indianapolis", Leslie Knope mentions the "Misshapen Celebrity Palace", a fictional tourist trap where Madame Tussauds sends their failed wax figures
- Madame Tussauds is mentioned in the American-British drama series "Penny Dreadful": Season 2, Episode 1
- Colin Morgan as Merlin
- Peter Andre
- Ant And Dec
- Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
- Amitabh Bachchan
- John Bishop
- David Bowie
- Boy George
- Susan Boyle
- Marlon Brando (see image)
- Pierce Brosnan as James Bond 007 (see image)
- Alan Carr
- Barbara Cartland
- Charlie Chaplin (see image)
- Simon Cowell
- Tom Cruise
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Leonardo DiCaprio
- Dalai Lama (see image)
- Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow (see image)
- Alfie Deyes
- Peter Dinklage
- Walt Disney
- Madhuri Dixit
- Bruce Forsyth
- Morgan Freeman
- Indira Gandhi
- Mahatma Gandhi
- Selena Gomez
- Lewis Hamilton
- George Harrison (see image of The Beatles)
- One Direction
- Benny Hill (see image)
- Alfred Hitchcock (see image)
- Michael Jackson (see image)
- Lady Gaga (see image)
- Katrina Kaif
- Kareena Kapoor
- Bill Kaulitz
- Salman Khan
- Shahrukh Khan
- Olga Korbut (see image)
- Keira Knightley (see image)
- Keith Lemon
- John Lennon (see image of The Beatles)
- Leona Lewis
- Jonah Lomu
- Demi Lovato
- Matt Lucas
- Archbishop Makarios III (see image)
- Nelson Mandela (see image)
- Davina McCall
- Paul McCartney (see image of The Beatles
- Freddie Mercury
- Kylie Minogue (see image)
- Narendra Modi
- Marilyn Monroe (see image)
- Olly Murs
- Jamie Oliver
- Justin Bieber
- Camilla Parker Bowles (see image)
- Dolly Parton
- Pope John Paul II (see image)
- Prince Charles (see image)
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (see image)
- Princess Diana (see image)
- Queen Elizabeth II (see image)
- Cristiano Ronaldo
- Hrithik Roshan
- Ed Sheeran
- Ringo Starr (see image of The Beatles)
- Zoe Sugg
- Taylor Swift
- Sachin Tendulkar
- Helena Bonham Carter
- The Sleeping Beauty, modelled after Madame du Barry (see image)
- Marie Tussaud (see image)
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu (see image)
- Louis Walsh
- John Wayne (see image)
- Amy Winehouse
- Selena Quintanilla
- José Mourinho
- The Sleeping Beauty is the oldest existing figure on display. It was modeled after Madame du Barry. She appears asleep and a device in her chest makes it seem as if she were breathing.
- Madame Tussaud herself at Madame Tussauds in London
- Benny Hill (Credited Tussauds Gard)
- John Wayne (London)
- Olga Korbut (London)
- Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow
- Pierce Brosnan as James Bond 007
- Chamber of Horrors (Madame Tussauds), London
- Madame Tussauds Hollywood
- Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
- Madame Tussauds Las Vegas
- Madame Tussauds London
- Madame Tussauds New York
- Madame Tussauds Rock Circus (1989-2001, London)
- Madame Tussauds San Francisco
- Madame Tussauds Shanghai
- Madame Tussauds Singapore
- Madame Tussauds Sydney
- Madame Tussauds Washington D.C.
- Merlin Entertainments
- Wells, John C. (2009). "Tussaud's". Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. London: Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0.
- Rothstein, Edward (24 August 2007). "Ripley's Believe It or Not – Madame Tussauds". The New York Times. Retrieved 12 May 2010.: "Madame Tussaud (who gave the attraction its now-jettisoned apostrophe) ..."
- Times Online Style Guide – M: "Madame Tussauds (no longer an apostrophe)."
- Du Plessis, Amelia. "England – Madame Tussauds". Informational site about England. Retrieved 12 July 2011.
- Pilbeam (2006) pp. 102–106
- Pilbeam (2006) pp. 100–104
- "The History of Madame Tussauds". Madame Tussauds.com.
- Berridge, Kate...But now British actress Emma Watson is already to set and appear here... (2006). Madame Tussaud: A life in wax. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-052847-8.
- Pilbeam, ibid. pp. 166, 168–9.
- Pilbeam, ibid. p. 170.
- "POLICE (20 July 1889 page 6, column 6)". The Times. 20 July 1888. p. 6. Retrieved 12 November 2008.
- Pamela Pilbeam Madame Tussaud: And the History of Waxworks. P.199.
- "Adolf Hitler returns to Berlin museum after beheading". www.meeja.com.au. 14 September 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2008.
- Pilbeam, ibid. p. 199.
- "Madame Tussauds to repair beheaded Hitler". Associated Press. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008.
- Carrel, Paul (5 July 2008). "Man rips head from Hitler wax figure". Reuters.
- Gur-Arieh, Noga (January 6, 2015). "Madame Tussauds Museum in London Removed Hitler Figure". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved January 10, 2016.
- Al makes people jump out of their skin
- Ozzy Osbourne scares people at Madame Tussauds. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
- It's really them! One Direction prank four delighted fans by pretending to be wax work models for Surprise Surprise, Daily Mail
- CARMELO ANTHONY TAKES THE TIME TO PRANK VISITORS AT MADAME TUSSAUD’S
- Jeremy Lin pranks at Madame Tussauds, pretends to be wax likeness
- Arnold Schwarzenegger scares the bejeezus out of tourists at Madame Tussauds
- "Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud's) – Meltdown – Steve Taylor Discography". Sock Heaven. Retrieved 14 November 2010.
- Beatles waxworks sell for £81,500
- Knight, Kathryn (October 18, 2008). "Oh, mummy you were naughty - Dame Barbara Cartland's son reveals all about her racy life". Daily Mail.
- Berridge, Kate (2006). Madame Tussaud: A life in wax. New York: HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-052847-8.
- Chapman, Pauline (1984). Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors: Two Hundred Years of Crime. London: Constable. ISBN 0-09-465620-7.
- Deakin, Johnston and Markesinis (2008). Markesinis & Deakin's Tort Law. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-928246-3.
- Hervé, Francis (ed.) (1838). Madame Tussaud's Memoirs and Reminiscences of France, forming an abridged history of the French Revolution. London: Saunders & Otley.
- McCallam, David (2002). "Waxing Revolutionary: Reflections on a Raid on a Waxworks at the Outbreak of the French Revolution". French History. 16 (2): 153–173. doi:10.1093/fh/16.2.153..
- Moran, Michelle (2011). Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution. Crown. ISBN 0-307-58865-3.
- Pilbeam, Pamela (2006). Madame Tussaud: And the History of Waxworks. Continuum International Publishing Group. pp. 100–104. ISBN 1-85285-511-8.
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