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Ida Culley, a pianist who accompanied many entertainers in...

TORONTO -- Ida Culley, a pianist who accompanied many entertainers in the 1930s and 1940s, died Monday in the Cummer Home for the Aged. She was 86.

Mrs. Culley, using the stage name Claudette, and her late husband Harry formed a piano-playing team that accompanied, among others, British comedian George Formby and American singer Kate Smith.

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Born in Toronto, Mrs. Culley started playing piano as a child after teaching herself music by ear. At age seven, she was demonstrating pianos at the Canadian National Exhibition.

The Culleys toured South Africa in the 1930s, were featured on Radio Luxembourg and had a half-hour radio program on the BBC after World War II.

The funeral was to be today at Murray Newbigging Funeral Home in Toronto.

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