Charlie Vaude was born Charles Joseph Ridgway in London in 1882 to parents Charles John and Mary (nee McCarthy) Ridgway.
Ridgeway migrated to Australia sometime around 1902, initially settling in Western Australia. He worked as an auctioneer, though wished to pursue a career on stage. Finding Perth’s theatre scene lacking, he moved to Adelaide and after finding no theatre engagements, Ridgway found an advertisement for performers to undertake a season in Broken Hill. It is here, in 1908, where he met his partner, comedian Will Barrington.
Ridgway adopted the stage name Charlie Vaude and Barrington adopted the stage name Bill Verne. Together, Vaude and Verne became well established performers on the acclaimed Tivoli circuit, touring across Australia and appearing on bills with international acts such as Houdini. They ended their engagement with the Tivoli circuit in 1917 after taking up a contract with Fullers’ Theatres. They continued to perform across Australia and New Zealand with a variety of theatre companys, including Fullers’, Tivoli and the Bridge Theatre Company. Vaude and Verne’s partnership ended around 1929 to 1930.
In 1930, Ridgway moved to Melbourne after being hired by the radio station 3DB to energize their advertising. He had several popular radio shows throughout the 1930s, including during broadcasts of the 1930 Ashes series and 1934 and 1938 Test cricket series. He hosted the immensely popular Smile Away Club, of which members included the Prime Minister Joseph Lyons and his wife, and was featured in 3DB's C. and G. Minstrel Show.
On 25 September 1911, Ridgway married variety performer Lilas May Roots, known as Lilas Birt. They had one son, Charles Albert Joseph Vaude-Ridgway. Lilas died in 1931, and on 5 October 1935 Ridgway married dancer Leila Halliday Sach at Northcote.
Charles Ridgway died of cancer on 29 October 1942 at his home in Northcote, Victoria.