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Madame Tussauds and the London Planetarium

Madame Tussauds (UK: /tjuːˈsɔːdz/, US: /tˈsz/; the family themselves pronounce it /ˈts/[1]) is a wax museum in London with smaller museums in a number of other 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.[2][3] Madame Tussauds is a major tourist attraction in London, displaying the waxworks of famous and historic people and also popular film characters.




Marie Tussaud was born as Marie Grosholtz in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Bern, Switzerland, who was a physician skilled in wax modeling. Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling. He moved to Paris and took his young apprentice, only 6 years old, with him.[4]

Tussaud created her first wax sculpture in 1777 of Voltaire.[5] At the age of 17 she became the art tutor to King Louis XVI of France’s sister, Madame Elizabeth, at the Palace of Versailles. During the French Revolution she was imprisoned for three months awaiting execution, but was released after the intervention of an influential friend.[4] Other famous people whom she modelled included Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Benjamin Franklin. During the Revolution, she modelled many prominent victims.[6]

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),[7] which later featured in the Druce-Portland case sequence of trials of 1898–1907. This became Tussaud's first permanent home in 1836.[8]


Poster for the Tussaud wax figure's exhibition, Baker Street, London 1835.

By 1835, Marie had settled down in Baker Street, London and opened a museum.[9] 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.[10]

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.[citation needed]

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, the work of Curtius from 1765 and part of the waxworks left to Tussaud at his death. 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 16 April 1850.[citation needed]

Bernard Tussaud finishes the wax figure of Lady Alice Scott and the Duke of Gloucester - 1935.10.16

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.[11] 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.[12]

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.[13]

The first sculpture of a young Winston Churchill was made in 1908, with a total of ten made since.[14] The first overseas branch of Madame Tussauds was opened in Amsterdam in 1970.[15]

Ownership changesEdit

In 2005, Madame Tussauds was sold to company in Dubai, Dubai International Capital, for £800m (US$1.5bn). In May 2007 Blackstone Group purchased The Tussauds Group from then-owner Dubai International Capital for US$1.9 billion;[16] the company was merged with Blackstone's Merlin Entertainments and operation of Madame Tussauds was taken over by Merlin.[17][16] After the Tussauds acquisition, Dubai International Capital gained 20% of Merlin Entertainment.[18] The Tussauds Group as a separate entity ceased to exist.

On 17 July 2007, as part of the financing for the Tussauds deal, Merlin sold the freehold of Madame Tussauds to private investor Nick Leslau and his investment firm Prestbury under a sale and leaseback agreement.[19] Although the attraction sites are owned by Prestbury, they are operated by Merlin based on a renewable 35-year lease.[17]

Recent statusEdit

Madame Tussaud's wax museum became a major tourist attraction in London, incorporating (until 2010) the London Planetarium in its west wing and a large animated dark ride, The Spirit of London, opened in 1993. 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) since 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.[20] 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.[21][22][23]

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.[24]

The first Madame Tussauds in India opened in New Delhi on 1 December 2017, with its operator Merlin Entertainments planning an investment of 50 million pounds over the next 10 years. [25][26][27] It features over 50 wax models including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amitabh Bachchan, Sachin Tendulkar, Kim Kardashian, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johansson, Angelina Jolie, Asha Bhosle, Kapil Dev, Mary Kom and Tom Cruise.[28]

Museums locationsEdit

Entry of Madame Tussauds in Berlin
Madame Tussauds in New York City opened in 2000.
Madame Tussauds opened in Washington, D.C. in 2007.



North AmericaEdit


In popular cultureEdit

Celebrity poses with their wax figuresEdit

Many times celebrities pose like their wax figures as pranks and publicity stunts.


  • 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.
  • Some sequences of the film Housefull 3 were shot in the Madame Tussauds, London.
  • 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 Jules Verne novel Around the World in Eighty Days, his author says that the only thing the wax figures sculpted by Madame Tussaud lack is speech.
  • 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 the novel Edgar Allan Poe and the London Monster (2016) by Karen Lee Street, Madame Tussaud meets twice with Edgar Allan Poe and C. Auguste Dupin at her exhibition halls.


  • 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.

Stage productionsEdit

  • Marie Tussaud is mentioned in The Scarlet Pimpernel (first run on stage in 1903, first publication 1905).


List of the wax figuresEdit

The following is a list of the wax figures (consisting of artists (painters, writers, musicians, comedians, film directors, film producers, actors and actresses), businesspersons, politicians, country leaders (presidents, monarchy rulers and supreme leaders), athletes, personalities (celebrity figures, performers, reality television personalities, TV hosts, chefs, models, socialites, philanthropists and internet celebrities/Youtubers), historical figures (military figures, revolutionaries, founders, activists and criminals), religious leaders, animated and film characters) which are displayed at one of the Madame Tussauds museums, whether in London or elsewhere.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51][52][53][54][55][56][57][58][59][60][61]




























  1. ^ Portrayed by Travis Fimmel
  2. ^ Portrayed by Chris Evans
  3. ^ Made with yak hair[67]
  4. ^ Also displayed as a Rat Pack member
  5. ^ Portrayed by Paula Patton
  6. ^ Also displayed as Indiana Jones
  7. ^ Portrayed by Jeremy Renner
  8. ^ Portrayed by Jessica Alba
  9. ^ Also displayed as a normal figure and as Edward Scissorhands
  10. ^ Portrayed by Jennifer Lawrence
  11. ^ Portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson
  12. ^ Also displayed as Iron Man
  13. ^ Modelled after Madame du Barry
  14. ^ Portrayed by Chris Hemsworth
  15. ^ Also displayed as a Spice Girls member
  16. ^ Also displayed as Oda Mae Brown in Ghost film
  17. ^ Portrayed by Hugh Jackman


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wells, John C. (2009). "Tussaud's". Longman Pronunciation Dictionary. London: Pearson Longman. ISBN 978-1-4058-8118-0. 
  2. ^ 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) ..."
  3. ^ Times Online Style Guide – M: "Madame Tussauds (no longer an apostrophe)."
  4. ^ a b "The Baker Street Bazaar". 26 May 2012. 
  5. ^ Du Plessis, Amelia. "England – Madame Tussauds". Informational site about England. Archived from the original on 13 December 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 
  6. ^ "Marie Tussaud Facts, information, pictures | articles about Marie Tussaud". Retrieved 28 March 2016. 
  7. ^ Pilbeam (2006) pp. 102–106
  8. ^ Pilbeam (2006) pp. 100–104
  9. ^ "The History of Madame Tussauds". Madame
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ Pilbeam, ibid. pp. 166, 168–9.
  12. ^ Pilbeam, ibid. p. 170.
  13. ^ "POLICE (20 July 1889 page 6, column 6)". The Times. 20 July 1888. p. 6. Retrieved 12 November 2008. 
  14. ^ Pamela Pilbeam Madame Tussaud: And the History of Waxworks. P.199.
  15. ^ "Madame Tussauds' to open shop in Delhi - Times of India". 
  16. ^ a b Cho, David (6 March 2007). "Blackstone Buys Madame Tussauds Chain" – via 
  17. ^ a b "Merlin conjures up leaseback deal". 17 July 2007 – via 
  18. ^ "Tussauds firm bought in £1bn deal". BBC News. 5 March 2007. 
  19. ^ "Alton Towers sold in £622m deal". BBC News. 17 July 2007. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  20. ^ "Adolf Hitler returns to Berlin museum after beheading". 14 September 2008. Archived from the original on 19 September 2008. Retrieved 14 September 2008. 
  21. ^ Pilbeam, ibid. p. 199.
  22. ^ "Madame Tussauds to repair beheaded Hitler". Associated Press. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 7 July 2008. 
  23. ^ Carrel, Paul (5 July 2008). "Man rips head from Hitler wax figure". Reuters. 
  24. ^ Gur-Arieh, Noga (6 January 2015). "Madame Tussauds Museum in London Removed Hitler Figure". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved 10 January 2016. 
  25. ^ [1]: "Madame Tussauds (no longer an apostrophe)."
  26. ^ "Madame Tussauds debuts in Delhi". BBC News. 1 December 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  27. ^ "Madame Tussauds Delhi to officially open for public on December 1". The Indian Express. 30 November 2017. Retrieved 1 December 2017. 
  28. ^ "Take a sneak peek into India's first Madame Tussauds in Delhi - Wax figure of PM Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. 
  29. ^ The Weather Channel (30 December 2009). "Al makes people jump out of their skin" – via YouTube. 
  30. ^ Ozzy Osbourne scares people at Madame Tussauds. Retrieved 30 May 2010.
  31. ^ It's really them! One Direction prank four delighted fans by pretending to be wax work models for Surprise Surprise, Daily Mail
  32. ^ "Carmelo Anthony Takes The Time To Prank Visitors At Madame Tussaud's « - All Ball Blog with Lang Whitaker". 
  33. ^ Pincus, Eric. "Jeremy Lin pranks at Madame Tussauds, pretends to be wax likeness". 
  34. ^ "Entertain This! - Daily hits and misses in pop culture". USA TODAY. 
  35. ^ "Meltdown (At Madame Tussaud's) – Meltdown – Steve Taylor Discography". Sock Heaven. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 
  36. ^ "Cloning Around With Steve Taylor". Todays Christian Music. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 10 March 2017. 
  37. ^ "Beatles waxworks sell for £81,500". 28 October 2005 – via 
  38. ^ "Madame Tussauds Amsterdam" (in Dutch). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  39. ^ "Madame Tussauds Bangkok". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  40. ^ "Madame Tussauds Beijing" (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  41. ^ "Madame Tussauds Chongqing" (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  42. ^ "Madame Tussauds Shanghai" (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  43. ^ "Madame Tussauds Wuhan" (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  44. ^ "Madame Tussauds Berlin" (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  45. ^ "Madame Tussauds Blackpool". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  46. ^ "Madame Tussauds Delhi". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  47. ^ "Madame Tussauds Holywood". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  48. ^ "Madame Tussauds Hong Kong" (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  49. ^ "Madame Tussauds Istanbul" (in Turkish). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  50. ^ "Madame Tussauds Las Vegas". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  51. ^ "Madame Tussauds London". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  52. ^ "Madame Tussauds Nashville". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  53. ^ "Madame Tussauds New York". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  54. ^ "Madame Tussauds Orlando". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  55. ^ "Madame Tussauds Prague" (in Czech). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  56. ^ "Madame Tussauds San Fransisco". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  57. ^ "Madame Tussauds Singapore". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  58. ^ "Madame Tussauds Sydney". Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  59. ^ "Madame Tussauds Tokyo" (in Japanese). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  60. ^ "Madame Tussauds Vienna" (in German). Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  61. ^ "Madame Tussauds Washington D.C." Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  62. ^ "Barbara Cartland - Queen of the romance novel, Madame Tussauds". Retrieved 4 June 2017. 
  63. ^ "Bill Gates - Madame Tussauds New York". 22 April 2013. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  64. ^ "U2 Rocker Bono Wax Figure Unveiled At Madame Tussauds New York". 16 March 2006. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  65. ^ "World Cup 2010: Cristiano Ronaldo gets Madam Tussauds waxwork". 10 June 2010. Retrieved 5 May 2017. 
  66. ^ a b "Dalai Lama and Mother Theresa - Madame Tussauds Prague". (Marieta_Oradea). Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  67. ^ "New Trump appears in London ... with yak hair". 18 January 2017. Retrieved 4 May 2017. 
  68. ^ Bloor, Steven (20 September 2013). "Sporting waxworks: uncanny and terrible creations - in pictures". the Guardian. 
  69. ^ "Gordon Ramsay - Madame Tussauds Blackpool". (dan_wigan). Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  70. ^ "Heath Ledger @ Madame Tussauds Sydney". (2eDIG). 22 May 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  71. ^ "Jamie Oliver Unveils His Waxwork at Madame Tussauds in London". 19 July 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  72. ^ "PRESIDENT JOKO WIDODO". Retrieved 4 June 2017. 
  73. ^ "Jose Mourinho Madame Tussauds London Aug 2009". (symonmreynolds). 14 August 2009. Retrieved 4 June 2017. 
  74. ^ "Lee Min Ho gets Madame Tussauds wax figure in China". 10 November 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2017. 
  75. ^ "Welcome to the uncanny valley! Megan Gale comes face-to-face with her near-identical Madame Tussauds wax figure... and can't help but take a selfie with her new twin". 17 May 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  76. ^ "Mel Gibson as Mad Max - Madame Tussauds Sydney". (4x4wheelers). Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  77. ^ "Napoleon Bonaparte - Madame Tussauds Berlin". 8 December 2011. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  78. ^ "Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne at Madame Tussauds". (Brian 5). 12 September 2008. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  79. ^ "Ronaldinho - Madame Tussauds Amsterdam". Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  80. ^ "Rudy Hartono Immortalized in Wax at Madame Tussauds in Singapore". 22 December 2015. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  81. ^ "TONY HAWK". Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  82. ^ "Walt Disney - Madame Tussauds Orlando". (SunnyDaze4200). Retrieved 5 June 2017. 
  83. ^ "Yang Yang Unveils His Wax Figure In Shanghai Madame Tussauds". 19 February 2017. Retrieved 5 June 2017. 


External linksEdit