By Eve Golden
" Anna Held (1870?-1918), a petite girl with an hourglass determine, was once America's most well liked musical comedy famous person throughout the twenty years previous international battle I. within the colourful global of latest York theater in the course of l. a. Belle Époque, she epitomized every little thing that used to be glamorous, subtle, and suggestive approximately turn-of-the-century Broadway. Overcoming an impoverished existence as an orphan to develop into a music-hall superstar in Paris, Held rocketed to repute in the US. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and speedy changed Lillian Russell because the darling of the theatrical international. the 1st spouse of mythical manufacturer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held used to be the brains and notion in the back of his Follies and shared his knack for exposure. jointly, they introduced the Paris scene to ny, entire with lavish costumes and units and a refrain of stunningly appealing girls, dubbed ""The Anna Held Girls."" whereas Held was once recognized for a champagne snort in addition to for her million-dollar checking account, there has been a darker part to her existence. She hid her Jewish heritage and her daughter from a prior marriage. She suffered via her husbands' playing difficulties and Ziegfeld's blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of struggling with in Europe, Held lower back to France to help the battle attempt. She entertained troops and brought clinical provides, and she or he was in short captured by way of the German military. Anna Held and the start of Ziegfeld's Broadway finds some of the most notable girls within the historical past of theatrical leisure. With entry to formerly unseen family members files and pictures, Eve Golden has exposed the main points of a unprecedented lady within the bright global of 1900s New York.
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Additional resources for Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway
Neither of them got to spend much time there, which was fine with Anna: W h i l e Ziegfeld enjoyed roughing it in the woods, Anna was more of a city girl. Between shows they would drive north to their farm and spend a week or so with friends, until the mosquitos drove Anna back to N e w York.
Was always kept in as her finale. In the late 1890s, newspapers and playgoers alike complained about women wearing huge hats to shows, blocking the vision of anyone behind them. Ziegfeld played on this and developed a "hat dance" for Anna: She performed one song from behind a huge six-foot hat, peeking out occasionally. T h e audience got the joke and a few women unpinned their hats. T h e show finally ended its East Coast tour in March 1897, and Anna returned to N e w York, where she and Ziegfeld shared an apartment at the Netherland.
We are more familiar with Flo Ziegfeld from his later photos, when he had taken on the appearance of a disgruntled tortoise. But when he first met Anna, he was a bright-eyed, dark-haired young man, thin as a whippet and vibrating with enthusiasm and harebrained schemes for conquering the theatrical world. Anna had never heard of Florenz Ziegfeld, either Sr. or Jr. Few had. Flo had never produced a Broadway show. But he did have the well-known Teddy Marks and Charles Evans to back him up, which kept Anna from showing him the door.