Mitzi Mayfair

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Mitzi Mayfair (June 6, 1914 – May 1976[1]) was an American dancer and stage and film actress.[2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Born either Emylyn Pique[1][4] or Juanita Emylyn Pique[2] in Fulton, Kentucky, she grew up in St. Louis.

She told a Harvard Crimson interviewer, "I guess I'm just a natural dancer".[5] She recalled she was performing professionally at the age of 11 in a "Kid act".[5] She was seen and hired by vaudevillian Gus Edwards and taken on tour;[4][5] at one stop, "child labor authorities hauled her ... off the stage".[2] She continued to work in vaudeville and on stage. Mayfair was in at least four Broadway productions in the 1930s, including the last edition of Flo Ziegfeld's Follies in 1931.[5][6] She joined the cast of At Home Abroad when star Eleanor Powell had to leave the show.[5]

According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, "the manager of the Main Street Theater in Kansas City" did not like her name, and changed it to Mitzi Mayfair without her knowledge; when she first saw the name on the marquee, she thought she had been replaced.[2] However, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle had a different story, stating that Gus Edwards, her manager, forgot her name and made one up.[7]

Kay Francis (left) and Mitzi Mayfair pose in faux-Army style uniforms after a USO tour.

During World War II, Mayfair embarked on a USO tour of Europe and North Africa with the likes of Kay Francis, Carole Landis and Martha Raye. All four performers played themselves in the film recreation of the tour, Four Jills in a Jeep (1944). Mayfair appeared in a number of shorts, but this and Paramount on Parade (1930) were her only feature film credits. The celebrated dancer Irene Castle considered having Mayfair (among others) play her in the film The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle, but decided she was not a big enough star; since Fred Astaire was already cast as Vernon, the part not surprisingly went to longtime partner Ginger Rogers.[8]

Mayfair divorced first husband Albert F. Hoffman in January 1944, and married Charles Henderson, "associate boss of the music department of the 20th Century-Fox Studio" on April 7 of the same year.[3]

She died in Pima, Arizona, in May 1976 at the age of 61.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mitzi Mayfair". Mar-Ken School / Lawlor Professional School (mar-ken.org). Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Minute Biographies: Mitzi Mayfair". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 28, 1933. 
  3. ^ a b "Mitzi Mayfair To Wed". Deseret News. April 7, 1944. 
  4. ^ a b Robbin Coons (December 7, 1943). "Hollywood Sights and Sounds". Niagara Falls Gazette. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Mitzi Mayfair, Bert Lahr Disregard Student Poll, Support Parietal Ruling". The Harvard Crimson. May 23, 1936. 
  6. ^ Mitzi Mayfair at the Internet Broadway Database
  7. ^ "Along the Primrose Path". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 17, 1937 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  8. ^ Golden, Eve (2007). Vernon and Irene Castle's Ragtime Revolution. University Press of Kentucky. p. 242. ISBN 9780813172699. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 

External links[edit]