Mitzi Mayfair

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Mitzi Mayfair (June 6, 1914/1915[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] – May 1976[1]) was an American dancer and stage and film actress.[3][9]

Life and career[edit]

Born Juanita Emylyn Pique in Fulton, Kentucky and grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1936, she told a Harvard Crimson interviewer, "I guess I'm just a natural dancer".[10] She recalled performing professionally albeit underage at age 11 in a "Kids Act".[10] She was seen and hired by vaudevillian Gus Edwards and taken on tour;[2][10] at one stop, "child labor authorities hauled her ... off the stage".[3]

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.[10][11] She joined the cast of At Home Abroad when star Eleanor Powell, also an acolyte of Gus Edwards, had to leave the show.[10]

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.[3] However, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle had a different story, stating that Gus Edwards, her manager, forgot her name and made one up.[12]

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. As Fred Astaire was already cast as Vernon, the part went to Ginger Rogers.[13]

Personal life[edit]

She was first married to Albert F. Hoffman from 1938 to 1943. On April 7, 1944, she married Charles Henderson, "associate boss of the music department of the 20th Century-Fox Studio". It is unclear when this marriage ended. On June 28, 1963, Mayfair married Fred S. Cook of Kitsap County, Washington.[9] She died in Pima, Arizona, in May 1976.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Mitzi Mayfair profile". mar-ken.org. Retrieved September 17, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Robbin Coons (December 7, 1943). "Hollywood Sights and Sounds" (PDF). Niagara Falls Gazette. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Minute Biographies: Mitzi Mayfair". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. June 28, 1933. 
  4. ^ Juanita E. Pique is name given on travel manifest, dated April 25, 1934, S.S. ILE DE FRANCE sailing from Plymouth, England – arriving at Port of New York City, May 1, 1934 (NOTE: year of birth given as June 6, 1915), familysearch.org; accessed July 18, 2015.
  5. ^ S.S. Columbus Sailing from Nassau (Baham), January 1, 1938, Arriving at Port of New York, January 3, 1938, age given as 21, and date of birth as June 6, 1916
  6. ^ Washington, Marriage Records, 1865-2004 Washington State Marriage Certificate #34364, dated June 27, 1963 (and executed the following day) to Fred S. Cook, appears to give her age (as of her last birthday) as 48, which would make her year of birth 1915
  7. ^ The Social Security Death Index gives her year of birth as 1914
  8. ^ Juanita E. Pique is name given on travel manifest, dated April 25, 1934, S.S. ILE DE FRANCE sailing from Plymouth, England – arriving at Port of New York City, May 1, 1934 (NOTE: year of birth given as June 6, 1915), familysearch.org; accessed July 18, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "Mitzi Mayfair To Wed". Deseret News. April 7, 1944. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Mitzi Mayfair, Bert Lahr Disregard Student Poll, Support Parietal Ruling". The Harvard Crimson. May 23, 1936. 
  11. ^ Mitzi Mayfair at the Internet Broadway Database
  12. ^ "Along the Primrose Path". Brooklyn Daily Eagle. January 17, 1937 – via Newspapers.com. 
  13. ^ 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]