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On Christmas Day, in 1913, entertainer Eddie Foy and his seven children¿Bryan, Charley, Richard, Mary, Madeleine, Eddie, Jr. and Irving¿perform for the first time at New York's celebrated Palace Theatre. As they sing and dance, Charley, Eddie's second child, recounts how the family got its start: One night, in 1898, while performing as a solo act in a revue, Eddie learns that influential talent agent Barney Green has come to check out his act as a possible addition to the Palace's line-up. Anxious, Eddie, who views women as impediments to show business success, refuses to switch dressing rooms with newly arrived Italian classical dancer Madeleine Morando and her accompanist, sister Clara, despite Madeleine's flirtations. When the Morandos take repeated encores, threatening to drive the bored Barney out of the theater, Eddie joins them on stage, turning their serious presentation into a comedy. Barney laughs hysterically at Eddie's impromptu lampoon and, after the show, offers him a four-week contract. Eddie is overjoyed until Barney reveals that the offer is valid only if the Morandos become part of his act. Desperate to play the Palace, Eddie invites Madeleine to dinner and plies her with champagne. Before he can broach the subject of the contract, however, Barney shows up and, assuming that Madeleine already knows about it, mentions the deal. Infuriated, Madeleine storms out of the restaurant, followed by Eddie. Although Eddie apologizes and admits his attraction to Madeleine, kissing her, the two part ways. While Eddie tours the West, Madeleine returns to Italy with Clara. Sometime later, in San Francisco, Eddie receives a letter from Madeleine, informing him of her impending marriage to an Italian admirer. Eddie races to the La Scala in Milan, where Madeleine is rehearsing, and after much hesitation, proposes. Madeleine happily accepts and agrees to join Eddie's act with Clara, but when they arrive in New York after the honeymoon, Clara tells Eddie that his wife is pregnant and cannot perform. Despite the setback to his career, Eddie takes the news in stride, and seven months later, Bryan, nicknamed "Brynie," is born. Eddie continues his touring vaudeville act, but after Madeleine reveals that she is expecting another child, decides to "settle down" by joining the cast of a play. Later, Eddie and five-old-year Brynie are backstage at the Iroqouis Theatre in Chicago, where Eddie is starring in Mr. Blue Beard , when a fire breaks out. After making sure Brynie is safe, Eddie goes on stage to calm the panicked audience and is hailed as a hero for his efforts. Eddie then is cast in a series of Broadway shows, and Madeleine gives birth to five more children. Fulfilling Madeleine's dream of living in the country, Eddie buys the family a large but rundown house in rural New Rochelle, New York, and presents his wife with an engagement ring. Madeleine is moved by the gesture and does not complain when Eddie hurries back to the city to perform in a George M. Cohan tribute. Clara and the children, however, criticize Eddie for neglecting his parental duties and indulging in his personal ambitions. Later, after Eddie resumes touring, Madeleine falls gravely ill but chooses not to tell Eddie about her condition. Upon returning to New York, Eddie learns that Cohan is honoring him with a Friars Club "Father of the Year" award and goes to the dinner instead of home. After dancing on the table tops with Cohan, Eddie heads for New Rochelle and is devastated when a priest informs him that Madeleine died earlier that day. Six months later, Barney visits Eddie in New Rochelle and chastises him for spoiling his now wild children and abandoning the stage. Determined to revive Eddie's career, Barney announces he has booked an engagement and suggests Eddie add his children to his act. Eddie is skeptical, especially after watching his untrained children try to sing and dance, but spends the next several weeks coaching them. Eddie Foy and the Seven Little Foys are an instant success, and Eddie arranges a tutor for them while they tour the country. Clara, however, disapproves of the vagabond life style and begs Eddie to take the children home for Christmas. Eddie agrees but Barney later announces that he has booked the family at the Palace, beginning Christmas Day. Eddie refuses to give up the long-coveted engagement, and despite Clara's and the children's resentment, the Foys perform on Christmas Day. Unknown to Eddie, Clara has brought agents from the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children to the show, and afterward, Eddie is hauled into New York's Children's Court. Confronted with a local law that prohibits children from entertaining for money, Eddie pleads guilty, but states that he was merely teaching his children the only profession he knows. The children jump up to defend Eddie, declaring that they love show business and their father, and while touched by their sentiment, the judge maintains that Eddie nevertheless violated the law. To prove the judge wrong, the children sing and dance terribly, and after conceding that their performance cannot be deemed entertainment, the judge drops the charges. Later, in New Rochelle, Eddie shocks the town when he joins Clara and his children at Sunday Mass for the very first time.