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Ziegfeld, Florenz

ZIEGFELD, FLORENZ

ZIEGFELD, FLORENZ (1869–1932), U.S. showman. Ziegfeld, born in Chicago, started his career at the Chicago World Fair, 1893, and staged his first production in 1896 in New York. His star was Anna Held, whom he had brought from Europe and later married, and he publicized the show with front-page advertising, a device which subsequently became his hallmark. In 1907, after a visit to Paris, he launched the Ziegfeld Follies and presented new editions periodically until 1931. These extravaganzas included lavish arrays of beautiful showgirls and set the standard for Broadway musical revues. Ziegfeld became known as "the glorifier of the American girl" and "the apostle of the beauty show." His many other productions included Showboat (1927 and 1932) and Rio Rita (1927), which opened at the Ziegfeld Theater built for him by William Randolph Hearst. Ziegfeld's productions brought fame to many stars, including Eddie *Cantor and Will Rogers. The film The Great Ziegfeld told the story of his career.

bibliography:

dab, 20 (1936), 653–4; L. Morris, Curtain Time (1953), 295–6, 308–9, 313–4; Oxford Companion to the Theater (19572), 854.

[Lee Healey]

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