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Ziegfeld and His FolliesA Biography of Broadway's Greatest Producer$
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Cynthia Brideson and Sara Brideson

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780813160887

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813160887.001.0001

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(p.381) 21 Going Home
Ziegfeld and His Follies

Cynthia Brideson

Sara Brideson

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter covers Ziegfeld’s disintegrating physical and mental states and his desperate attempts to revive his career. Ziegfeld’s next endeavor is a zany Bert Lahr musical comedy called Hot-Cha! He has to turn to gangsters for financial backing, including the notorious Waxy Gordon, and the show receives only mediocre reviews. Next, Ziegfeld decides to stage a revival of Show Boat but loses money on the project, despite a positive critical reception. Ziegfeld then agrees to host a radio program that will broadcast songs and skits from the Follies. Burke, meanwhile, agrees to star in a film for David O. Selznick, and Ziegfeld joins his family in Hollywood, even though he is gravely ill with pneumonia. Once in California, he is admitted to a hospital and dies shortly thereafter. Burke receives a phone call at the studio but does not arrive at the hospital in time to say a final good-bye. Burke and Patricia stay with Will Rogers and his wife until they find a small bungalow to live in. Burke, devastated and left alone to manage Ziegfeld’s massive debts, suffers terribly. Will Rogers remarks that Ziegfeld was not just a man but a symbol of a glorious bygone era.

Keywords:   Bert Lahr, Eleanor Powell, Lupe Velez, Show Boat, Will Rogers, David O. Selznick, Billie Burke, A Bill of Divorcement

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