The mission of the Ziegfeld Club Inc. is to help indingent women of the theater. We support organizations such as Broadway Cares, Equity Fights AIDS and the Episcopal Actors Guild.
The Ziegfeld Club Inc., established 1936, is the only such organization officially sanctioned by the late Billie Burke, Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld. Since 1976, it has been headquartered in the prestigious Central Presbyterian Church at 593 Park Avenue in New York City. The Club’s Board of Directors meet quarterly. All members are invited to attend. Members enjoy events, fellowship, networking, and a newsletter.
Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. was an American musical theater producer known as the "Glorifier of the American Girl." He brought the genre to spectacular heights when he created the Ziegfeld Follies in 1907. The extravagant Ziegfeld Folly performances featured statuesque show girls with elaborate feathered headdresses and sequin hand-embroidered costumes. They gracefully floated across the stage to the music of renown composers such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin and Jerome Kern while the dancers known as "ponies" performed highly choreographed routines. Irving Berlin wrote the Ziegfeld Follies theme song solidifying the famous Ziegfield phrase, "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody." Between the years of 1907 and 1931 Ziegfeld "glorified" 3,000 girls in the Ziegfeld Follies after auditioning hundreds of thousands.
Ziegfeld produced other successful Broadway shows such a Sally, Rio Rita and Show Boat. The Follies featured many well-known performers of the era including Nora Bayes, Fanny Brice, Ruth Etting, W.C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, Marilyn Miller, Will Rogers, Bert Williams and Ann Pennington. The first star of the Ziegfeld Follies was the actress Anna Held, whom Ziegfeld made famous and married in 1897 but soon divorced in 1912. Another notable performer who he married in 1914 was actress Billie Burke, famous for portraying Glinda the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz, and also an original founder of the Ziegfeld Club. The couple gave birth to a daughter Patricia in 1916.
Through many years of trials and tribulations Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. continued to produce theater. In 1927 he built The Ziegfeld Theater on Sixth Avenue with the financial support of William Rudolph Hearst. The theater stands as the red carpet center of New York City. The theater is home to Ziegfeld Follies memorabilia and artifacts, on display for the public to see.
The Ziegfeld Club is in honor of the late Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. and was founded by his widow, Billie Burke.
Billie Burke founding member of the Ziegfeld Club and wife to Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., was the principal creator of the club along with Bernard Sobel, Florenz Ziegfeld's publicist. As an academy award nominated American actress who starred in silent films and on stage, Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld is eternally recognizable to all generations as Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. During her marriage to Florenz Ziegfeld there were highs and lows but the couple endured until his death in 1932.
Doris Eaton Travis began her stage career in 1918 as the youngest dancer in the Ziegfeld Follies. She appeared in many musical reviews coast to coast. She achieved a degree of stardom in silent motion pictures, filming in New York, Hollywood, Egypt and the United Kingdom. Before retiring to her husband's Oklahoma horse ranch, Doris owned and managed 18 Arthur Murray dance studios. In 2003 she wrote her highly-acclaimed auto-biography, "The Days We Danced." As the last surviving principal of the Ziegfeld Follies, Doris passed away peacefully on May 11, 2010 at her Detroit, Michigan home. Two weeks earlier, she danced to a soldout standing ovation crowd at the Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDs Easter Bonnet Competition. She was 106 years old.
To read more about Doris Eaton Travis in The New York Times, click here
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The Ziegfeld Club Inc.
593 Park Avenue
New York, New York 10021