Billie Anthony was born Philomena McGeachie Levy in Glasgow, Scotland, on October 11, 1932. She had a good start to break into the world of show business, as her godmother was Gracie Fields, although her parents divorced when she was just 18 days old. Her mother, Lily, was a dancer, and young Philomena spent her childhood around the theater, hoping for a career as a dancer. In 1946, at age 14, she ran away from home and joined a touring show as one of May Moxon's troupe. She met Peter Elliott and, given their shared love of dancing, formed a double act with him, touring theaters as Phil & Peter Elliott, the Debonair Dancers. This act was abandoned when Peter was called up for national service in the Royal Air Force. Taking advice from another friend, Tony Brent (who had become a successful singer), she decided to take up singing as a solo artist, changing her name to Billie Anthony, and after Brent introduced her to his manager, Don Agness, she signed with Columbia Records.