Mrs. Ziegfeld

The Public and Private Lives of Billie Burke

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About the Book

Broadway actress Billie Burke was one of the most sought after young stage beauties of her time, stealing the hearts of Enrico Caruso, Mark Twain, and, most importantly, famed Broadway producer Florenz Ziegfeld, who became her husband. Following Ziegfeld’s death, the threats of financial ruin and encroaching age forced Burke to recreate herself as a Hollywood character actress.
This biography benefits from the cooperation of the daughter and grandchildren of Burke and Ziegfeld, as well as from anecdotes provided by actors who performed with Burke on the stage and screen. In addition to studying the character and significance of Burke’s greatest screen role as Glinda the Good Witch of the North, this richly illustrated book also provides a complete history of Burke’s stage, screen, and radio work.

About the Author(s)

Biographer Grant Hayter-Menzies lives in British Columbia. His works include biographies of Charlotte Greenwood, Princess Der Ling, Sarah Pike Conger, Pauline Benton, and Lillian Carter, along with the life of a dog, military mascot Rags of the First Division in World War I.

Bibliographic Details

Grant Hayter-Menzies
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 245
Bibliographic Info: 49 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016 [2009]
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6596-2
eISBN: 978-0-7864-5308-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Foreword by Eric Myers      1

Preface      3

PART I : SAWDUST, STARDUST

1. “A shy, wistful sort of moppet”      9

2. The Education of an Actress      16

3. Toast of Broadway      28

4. Halcyon Hour      33

5. “There is only one Billie Burke…”      40

6. Soubrette      47

7. Burkeley Crest      54

8. Mr. Ziegfeld      61

9. Mrs. Ziegfeld      73

10. Movie Star      79

11. “…you love others so much, too…”      89

12. “The fine days”      94

13. Flickering Star      101

14. A Beginning, and an End      112

PART II : SILLY WOMAN

15. Crash      123

16. Death, Then Life      135

17. “A small, bewildered comedienne…”      142

18. The Great Ziegfeld      156

19. Good Witch      167

20. “Oma”      179

21. Final Curtain      194

Appendix: Billie Burke’s Performance History      207

Chapter Notes      217

Bibliography      225

Index      229

Book Reviews & Awards

“enjoyable biography…an eye-opening look at the actress millions know only as Glinda the Good Witch…highly recommended”—Library Journal; “Hayter-Menzies’ book is quite well-researched…always entertaining…eminently worth reading”—www.pbpulse.com; “a book that is as readable as it is scholarly”—Examiner.com; “extensive research…valuable…an excellent job”—theglobeandmail.com.