Peaches Browning

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Peaches Browning (June 23, 1910 – August 23, 1956), born Frances Belle Heenan, was an American actress, most famous for her failed marriage to New York real estate mogul, Edward West "Daddy" Browning (1875–1934). The story became one of the most sensational "scandals" of the Roaring Twenties. It is often cited in journalism history texts as a sign of the excesses of some newspapers during the era.

Peaches & Daddy Browning Composograph 1.gif

On June 23, 1926 (her sixteenth birthday), mere weeks after she met the 51-year-old Edward Browning, Peaches and "Daddy" were wed. Later that same year, Peaches tried to obtain a divorce, and the White Plains, New York[1] trial drew intense coverage by New York City tabloid newspapers such as the New York Daily News, the rival New York Daily Mirror and the more louche New York Graphic, which published a notorious composograph of the couple.

The story was soon picked up by the national newspapers, and the couple became well known in U.S. popular culture of the time. Among the notable aspects of the case were Peaches' allegations of odd behavior by her husband, including the fact that he kept a honking African goose in their bedroom. The phrase "Don't be a goof," which Daddy allegedly used as an insult to Peaches, came into national vogue, and later turned up in the lyrics of the song "On Your Toes," by Rodgers and Hart.

The judge accepted Daddy's version of the facts, ruling that Peaches had abandoned her husband without cause, and released him from the marriage.[2] Peaches' notoriety gained her a career in vaudeville.[3] She was managed by Marvin Welt (1883–1953), one of the first theatrical agents to demand a percentage of total ticket sales for some of his clients.

When Edward Browning died in 1934, Peaches was awarded $6000 as a widow's portion.

Peaches went off into vaudeville and on to three more husbands, before she slipped in her bathroom and died in 1956, at age 46.[4] She is buried in the Ferncliff Cemetery in Hartsdale, New York.

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Greenburg, Michael, Peaches & Daddy, The Overlook Press.