Ziegfeld Girls

How little the public realizes what a girl must go through before she finally appears before the spotlight that is thrown upon the stage.

Florenz Ziegfeld
From 1907-1931, the Ziegfeld Follies (named after producer Florenz Ziegfeld) were an annual Broadway production based on the Folies Bergere in Paris. Top headliners were showcased. But the real attraction were the Ziegfeld Girls, chorus girls who wore amazing costumes (created by top designers, like Erte and Lady Duff Gordon) and essentially walked up and down an enormous set of stairs on stage. Here are their stories…
Adrienne Ames
As a model, Adrienne Ames came to the notice of Flo Ziegfeld. She acted on the stage, movies, and radio, and created her own line of fashion through Sears stores. However, she became better known as a wild socialite. Streetswing.com states that “due to her bout with cancer of the hip, she was probably trying to live her life to the fullest.”  She died of that cancer at the age of 39. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. 
Doris Eaton
Doris Eaton was 14 years old when she joined The Follies in 1918. She was not only a dancer in the show; she also assisted the director. She got around underage work laws by changing her name for the next two years until, at age 16, she could safely use her real name. She appeared in films during the 1920s and 1930s where, in one film, she premiered the song “Singing in the Rain” (which became its own movie with Gene Kelly). She died in 2010 at the ripe old age of 106. As the last surviving Ziegfeld Girl, Broadway honored her by dimming its lights.
Virginia Biddle
Virginia Biddle performed with The Follies until 1931. In that year, she and fellow Ziegfeld Girl Helen Walsh went for a sailing trip on entertainer Harry Richman's yacht. During the ride, the yacht exploded, burning Virginia's feet and ankles and killing Helen. This accident forced Virginia to retire from show business. She sued Richman but instead of receiving the $50,000 damages as requested, she was given only $50.
Mae Murray
Mae Murray was known as "The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips." During the silent movie era, many women, including Murray, were producers with their own film production company. However, as with many silent film stars, she couldn’t make the move to the “talkies”. On top of that, on the advice of her then-husband/manager, she walked out on her MGM contract - something that you DID NOT do to Louis B. Mayer. In fact, Mayer blacklisted her in Hollywood. Yet that did not stop Hollywood from memorializing her on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Jean Ackerman
Jean Ackerman was with The Follies for only three years from 1927 to 1930. Still, she was called “The World’s Most Beautiful Brunette” by the tabloids.  Upon her marriage to the heir of the General Cigar Company, she became a New York socialite.
« of 3 »