Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ziegfeld Girl, Part 3

The Ziegfeld Follies proved to be a great launching point for many Hollywood starlets, especially those of the silent era. One such starlet is Billie Dove. You might not have heard of her because she wasn't in films very long, but she certainly made an impact during her short tenure in Hollywood. Here's the details on Ms. Dove:

  • Born Lillian Bohny, she changed her name to Billie Dove when she started in the Ziegfeld Follies.
  • Does her name sound slightly familiar? Well, that might be because Billie Holiday's stage name was inspired by Ms. Dove.
  • She started out in the follies in 1919, but quickly moved to Hollywood on a studio contract.
  • That's where she met her future first husband, Irving Willart, a prominent director.
  • She was THE biggest star of the time. She was nicknamed "The American Beauty" and was a bigger box office draw than Greta Garbo, Mary Pickford, Clara Bow, etc.
  • She also had an affair with a then unknown maverick named Howard Hughes. I'm assuming this was before the whole "crazy, shut-in" phase of his.
  • Billie worked until she finished her last film in 1932- Blondie of the Follies.
  • She retired at an early age, met and married oil tycoon Robert Kenaston and spent the rest of her life out of the spotlight.
  • She died at the age of 94.
It seems that Billie Dove was able to go through the Hollywood machine relatively unscathed....Weird. 
Want a necklace of this "American Beauty?" Well, here you go:

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