Florenz "Flo" Ziegfeld was a theatrical impressario who perfected a form of the musical comedy revue, the Follies,regarded as the pinnacle of the field, while he himself became a legendary figure, making and losing several fortunes, and marrying two of his biggest stars, Anna Heldand Billie Burke. Born in Chicago in 1869, son of a classical musician and a music teacher, "Flo" Ziegfeld chose a career in popular entertainment, first as a bookerof vaudeville acts and later as a producer of plays designed mainly to showcase the talents of his first wife Anna Held. He found his niche as producer of the Follies, beginning in 1907 and offering new editions annually or semi-annually until 1931. Although the Follies was best known for its lavish sets and beautiful women, Ziegfeld was adept at discovering and developing comic talent, and presented such top comedians as Fanny Brice, Bert Williams,Will Rogers, W. C. Fields, Eddie Cantor, and many others.
Ziegfeld's second wife, Billie Burke, was born into a theatrical family in Washington, D.C., in 1885, and made her stage debut at 18. Soon astar, Billie Burke alternatedbetween the stage and films, and married Florenz Ziegfeld in 1914. She retired from acting in 1921 to raise their daughter Patricia, but resumed work after her husband was wiped out in the 1929 stock market crash, appearing in such films as DINNER AT EIGHT (1933), TOPPER (1937), and THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939), as Glinda. Billie Burke died in 1970 at the age of 85.