Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
|Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr.|
Florenz Ziegfeld in 1928
|Born||March 21, 1867/1869
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||July 22, 1932 (aged 63 or 65)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Billie Burke (married 1914–1932)|
|Partner(s)||Anna Held (1897–1913)|
Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. (March 21, 1867/1869 – July 22, 1932), popularly known as Flo Ziegfeld, was an American Broadway impresario, notable for his series of theatrical revues, the Ziegfeld Follies (1907–1931), inspired by the Folies Bergère of Paris. He also produced the musical Show Boat. He was known as the "glorifier of the American girl". Flo Ziegfeld is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.
Florenz Ziegfeld was born in Chicago, Illinois, on March 21, 1867; some sources, including his obituary, give the year of birth as 1869. His mother, Rosalie (née de Hez), who was born in Belgium, was the grandniece of General Count Étienne Maurice Gérard. His father, Florenz Ziegfeld, Sr., was a German immigrant whose father was the mayor of Jever in Friesland. Ziegfeld was baptized in his mother's Roman Catholic church. His father was Lutheran.
As a child Ziegfeld witnessed first-hand the Chicago fire of 1871. His father ran the Chicago Musical College and later opened a nightclub, the Trocadero, to obtain business from the 1893 World's Fair. To help his father's nightclub succeed, Ziegfeld hired and managed the strongman, Eugen Sandow.
His promotion of Anna Held, a Polish-French theatre artist Ziegfeld met in London in 1896, brought about her meteoric rise to national fame. It was Held who first suggested an American imitation of the Parisian Follies to Ziegfeld. Her success in a series of his Broadway shows, especially The Parisian Model (1906), was a major reason for his starting a series of lavish revues in 1907.
Ziegfeld's stage spectaculars, known as the Ziegfeld Follies, began with Follies of 1907, which opened on July 7, 1907, and were produced annually until 1931. These extravaganzas, with elaborate costumes and sets, featured beauties chosen personally by Ziegfeld in production numbers choreographed to the works of prominent composers such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern.
The Follies featured many performers who, though well known from previous work in other theatrical genres, achieved unique financial success and publicity with Ziegfeld. Included among these are Nora Bayes, Fanny Brice, Ruth Etting, W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Marilyn Miller, Will Rogers, Bert Williams and Ann Pennington.
Ziegfeld married Held in 1897, but she divorced him in 1913, according to her obituary in The New York Times dated August 13, 1918. However, according to Eve Golden, Held and Ziegfeld had never actually married, but had an "informal" wedding in 1897, and had lived together long enough to establish a common-law marriage. Held's divorce from Ziegfeld became final on January 9, 1913. Held had submitted testimony about Ziegfeld's relationship with another woman. The unnamed party in this romantic triangle was showgirl Lillian Lorraine. Ziegfeld had discovered Lorraine, an entertainer of limited talent but charismatic stage presence and beauty, in 1907 when she was a 15-year-old performer in a Shubert production. Ziegfeld spent years promoting her career, transforming her into one of the most popular attractions in his Follies and establishing her in an apartment two floors above the residence he shared with Held. He remained in love with Lorraine for the rest of his life.
In 1914, Ziegfeld married actress Billie Burke. They had one child, Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson (1916–2008). The family lived on his estate in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, and in Palm Beach, Florida.
Ziegfeld Theatre and Show Boat
At a cost of $2.5 million, he built the 1600-seat Ziegfeld Theatre on the west side of Sixth Avenue between 54th and 55th Streets. Designed by Joseph Urban and Thomas W. Lamb, the auditorium was egg-shaped with the stage at the narrow end. A huge medieval-style mural, The Joy of Life, covered the walls and ceiling. To finance the construction, Ziegfeld borrowed from William Randolph Hearst, who took control of the theater after Ziegfeld's death.
The Ziegfeld Theatre opened in February 1927 with his production of Rio Rita, which ran for nearly 500 performances. This was followed by Show Boat, a great hit with a run of 572 performances.
Ziegfeld lost much of his money in the stock market crash. In May 1932 he staged a revival of Show Boat that ran for six months—a hit, by Depression standards. That same year, he brought his Follies stars to CBS Radio with The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air.
Ziegfeld died in Hollywood, California on July 22, 1932. The cause was pleurisy, related to a previous lung infection. He had been in Los Angeles only a few days after moving from a New Mexico sanitarium. His death left Burke with substantial debts, driving her toward film acting to settle them. He is interred in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.
Broadway theatre productions
|1896||Parlor Match, AA Parlor Match||American debut of Anna Held|
|1898||French Maid, TheThe French Maid|
|1898||Turtle, TheThe Turtle|
|1899||Manicure, TheThe Manicure|
|1901||Little Duchess, TheThe Little Duchess|
|1903||Red Feather, TheThe Red Feather|
|1906||Parisian Model, TheThe Parisian Model|
|1907||Follies of 1907, TheThe Follies of 1907|
|1908||Parisian Model, TheThe Parisian Model|
|1908||Soul Kiss, TheThe Soul Kiss|
|1908||Follies of 1908, TheThe Follies of 1908|
|1909||Follies of 1909, TheThe Follies of 1909|
|1910||Follies of 1910, TheThe Follies of 1910|
|1911||Ziegfeld Follies of 1911|
|1912||Over the River|
|1912||Winsome Widow, AA Winsome Widow|
|1912||Ziegfeld Follies of 1912|
|1913||Ziegfeld Follies of 1913|
|1914||Ziegfeld Follies of 1914|
|1915||Ziegfeld Follies of 1915|
|1916||Ziegfeld Follies of 1916|
|1916||Century Girl, TheThe Century Girl|
|1917||Ziegfeld Follies of 1917|
|1917||Rescuing Angel, TheThe Rescuing Angel|
|1918||Ziegfeld Follies of 1918|
|1918||By Pigeon Post|
|1919||Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic|
|1920||Ziegfeld Girls of 1920|
|1920||Ziegfeld Follies of 1920|
|1921||Ziegfeld 9 O'Clock Frolic|
|1921||Ziegfeld Follies of 1921|
|1921||Intimate Strangers, TheThe Intimate Strangers|
|1921||Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic|
|1922||Ziegfeld Follies of 1922|
|1923||Ziegfeld Follies of 1923|
|1924||Ziegfeld Follies of 1924|
|1925||Louis the 14th|
|1926||Ziegfeld's Revue 'No Foolin'|
|1928||Three Musketeers, TheThe Three Musketeers|
|1928||Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic|
|1931||Ziegfeld Follies of 1931|
Screen versions of three of Ziegfeld's hit stage musicals were produced in the early sound film era: Sally (1929), starring Marilyn Miller; Rio Rita (1929) starring Bebe Daniels and John Boles; and Whoopee! (1930) starring Eddie Cantor. All were filmed in Technicolor and closely followed the original stage productions, although Whoopee! featured an almost entirely new score with only three of the songs from the stage used. Whoopee! was made under Ziegfeld's personal supervision, with Ziegfeld as a producer with Samuel Goldwyn.
Show Boat was filmed three times. The first version, a part-talkie released in 1929 while the stage show was still playing, is more closely based on the source novel than the stage play. It kept only one song from the stage musical, "Ol' Man River". Nevertheless, Ziegfeld appeared in a sound prologue made to be shown before the actual film.
Two more film versions of Show Boat were made after Ziegfeld's death which were more faithful to the stage musical. The acclaimed 1936 film version featured many who had appeared in the stage show, including Helen Morgan and Irene Dunne. The 1951 Technicolor film, features a more abbreviated plot but includes almost all of the original songs. It stars Kathryn Grayson, Ava Gardner, and Howard Keel as Magnolia, Julie and Ravenal, respectively.
A semi-biographical film, The Great Ziegfeld, was produced in 1936, and won the "Outstanding Production" (now "Best Picture") Oscar for 1936. A film recreating the Follies with an all-star cast, Ziegfeld Follies, was produced in 1946. Both were made by MGM and featured William Powell as Ziegfeld.
A three-hour made-for-television film, Ziegfeld: The Man and His Women, starring Paul Shenar as Ziegfeld, Samantha Eggar as Billie Burke and Barbara Parkins as Anna Held, was produced by Columbia Pictures and shown on NBC in 1978.
- Carter, Randolph, Ziegfeld, the Time of His Life, New and rev. ed., London, Bernard Press, 1988. ISBN 0-9513557-0-8
- Redniss, Lauren, Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis, Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies, New York, Harper Collins, 2006, ISBN 978-0-06-085333-4.
- "Florenz Ziegfeld Dies in Hollywood After Long Illness". New York Times. July 23, 1932. Retrieved 2009-02-19.
Florenz Ziegfeld, musical comedy producer, died tonight at a hospital here. Death came at 10:31 P.M., after an unexpected setback that developed only tonight. Only Dr. Marcus Radwin, attending physician, and a nurse were in the room when the producer died.
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- Hanson, Nils, Lillian Lorraine, The Life and Times of a Ziegfeld Diva, MacFarland & Company Publishers, 2011, pp. 18-19
- Hanson, Nils, "Lillian Lorraine, The Life and Times of a Ziegfeld Diva, MacFarland & Co. Publishers, 2011, p. 63
- "Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson, Daughter of Legendary Broadway Impresario". Jazz News. 2008-04-25. Retrieved 2008-05-11.
- Innes, C.D. "Chapter: Stage and Screen", Designing modern America: Broadway to Main Street, Yale University Press, 2005; ISBN 0-300-10804-4, pp. 60-62.
- Hayter-Menzies, Grant. "Chapter 18. The Great Ziegfeld" Mrs. Ziegfeld: The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke, McFarland, 2009, ISBN 0-7864-3800-2, pp. 114, 159
- Green, Stanley. "Chapter:Jerome Kern" The World of Musical Comedy (4ed.), Da Capo Press, 1984; ISBN 0-306-80207-4, p. 62
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- "'Show Boat', 1929, Overview, Cast, Production Credits allmovie.com, accessed January 13, 2011
- "'Show Boat', 1936, Overview, Review, Cast, Production Credits, Awards" allmovie.com, accessed January 13, 2011
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- Vogel, Michelle. "Chapter: Rags to Riches" Olive Thomas: The Life and Death of a Silent Film Beauty, McFarland, 2007; ISBN 0-7864-2908-9, p. 23
- Berard, Jeanette M.; Corwin, Norman; Englund, Klaudia. "Specials" Television Series and Specials Scripts, McFarland, 2009; ISBN 0-7864-3348-5, p. 425
- Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. at the Internet Broadway Database
- Florenz Ziegfeld, Jr. at the Internet Movie Database
- Ziegfeld biography by John Kenrick
- Portrait of Ziegfeld and his wife Billie Burke
- Flo Ziegfeld-Billie Burke Papers, 1907-1984, held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
- on YouTube video clip