April 12, 2024

Sad news in today’s New York Times.  And though it has nothing to do with food or travel, it has everything to do with a life well lived.

For a quarter century, Florenz Ziegfeld auditioned hundreds of thousands of young women vying to become chorus girls, the Ziegfeld Girls, those lace and chiffon visions of glamour who were as much a part of the Jazz Age as Stutz Bearcats, the Charleston and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

In all, from 1907 to 1931, he picked about 3,000, and on Tuesday the last Ziegfeld Girl died. She was Doris Eaton Travis, and she was 106. She died of an aneurysm in Commerce, Mich., a nephew, Joe Eaton, said.

Beneath towering, glittering, feathered headdresses, the Ziegfeld Girls floated across grand Broadway stages in lavish pageants known as the Ziegfeld Follies, often to the wistful tune that Irving Berlin wrote just for them: “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody.”

They were former waitresses, farmers’ daughters and office workers who had dreamt of becoming part of Ziegfeld’s own grand dream of “glorifying the American girl” (preferably with exact measurements of 36-26-38) in splendiferous spectacles.

They performed with the likes of Will Rogers and Fanny Brice, and everyone flocked to see them, including President Woodrow Wilson and Babe Ruth.

“It was beauty, elegance, loveliness,” Mrs. Travis recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 2005, “beauty and elegance like a French painting of a woman’s body.”

Read the full story HERE.

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