Born: August 7, 1884 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Died: May 14, 1970 in Los Angeles, California, USA
Actress Billie Burke won fame first as a leading lady of the New York stage and later, in another
generation, as the fluttery matron of dozens of movie roles.
She was famous before she met her future husband, master showman Florenz Ziegfeld, in 1914.
Enrico Caruso had showered her with flowers and British novelist W. Somerset Maugham had asked
her to tea and dancing.
Burke made her stage debut in 1902 as a singer in London's Pavilion Music Hall and made her first
appearance on the legitimate stage a year later in "The School Girl."
Broadway producer Charles Frohman signed her to a contract, brought her back to her native land
and gave her a role in "My Wife," which starred John Drew in 1907. The part launched the red-haired
beauty as a leading lady.
It was George Cukor who, after the death of Ziegfeld in 1932, gave her her start in talking pictures by
giving her a role in "A Bill of Divorcement." As in her earlier state career, the role launched her into
the ranks of leading matron sophisticates and comediennes of the screen.
She continued an active career in films, with stints on the stage, into her 70s. Her last two films were
"The Young Philadelphians" with Paul Newman in 1959 and "Sergeant Rutledge" with Jeffrey Hunter
Among the pictures in which she appeared were "Topper," "Merrily We Live," "Dinner at Eight," "The
Wizard of Oz," "The Man Who Came to Dinner," "Navy Blue and Gold," "Craig's Wife" and numerous
— Dorothy Townsend in the Los Angeles Times May 16, 1970
|~Los Angeles Times, 1970~
|~News Story from 1935~
A FAMOUS STAR ARRIVES WITH DAUGHTER
NEW YORK...Billie Burke, widow of Florenz Ziegfeld, the famous
follies impresario, is pictured at Pennsylvania station upon her
arrival from Hollywood, with her here is her daughter, Patricia
Ziegfeld who is no longer a little girl that many of us remember. This
is Billie Burke's first visit here since 1932.
Naomi Wheat (stage name Carol King aka Wheaties) Estate
Added October 19, 2012
The Education of Elizabeth (1921) .... Elizabeth Banks
The Frisky Mrs. Johnson (1920) .... Belle Johnson
Away Goes Prudence (1920) .... Prudence Thorne
Wanted: A Husband (1919) .... Amanda Darcy Cole
Sadie Love (1919) .... Sadie Love
The Misleading Widow (1919) .... Betty Taradine
Good Gracious, Annabelle (1919) .... Annabelle Leigh
The Make-Believe Wife (1918) .... Phyllis Ashbrook
In Pursuit of Polly (1918) .... Polly Marsden
... aka The Pursuit of Polly
Let's Get a Divorce (1918) .... Mme. Cyprienne Marcey
Eve's Daughter (1918) .... Irene Simpson-Bates
The Land of Promise (1917) .... Nora Marsh
Arms and the Girl (1917) .... Ruth Sherwood
The Mysterious Miss Terry (1917) .... Mavis Terry
Gloria's Romance (1916) (as Miss Billie Burke) .... Gloria Stafford
Peggy (1916) .... Peggy Cameron