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A Girl Scout - Florenz Ziegfeld

( Originally Published 1930 )



FLORENZ ZIEGFELD. That's his real name. His father was Dr. Florenz Ziegfeld, founder of the Chicago Musical College. His mother, Rosalie de Hez, a French girl. He was born in Chicago, March 21, 1869.

His telephone bill is $50 a day.

Likes to munch sweets. Generally carries a small box of candy in his pocket.

Can't sleep after six in the morning. Starts his day's work in bed. With a masseur working on him, he dictates telegrams. Only one-third of the telegrams he writes are actually sent.

Talks with a nasal tone. Which is mimicked by some of his stars behind his back.

Whenever he goes on a long trip he takes along his own chef and his own food in a special car.

His theatrical fame and fortune really started on July 8, 1907. It was then he produced his first Follies. It was presented in the theater now known as Loew's New York Roof.

Knows more ways of escaping process servers than any other man in the world.

He can't keep a secret.

Wears lavender-colored shirts, pointed perforated shoes, usually brown, and a hat that costs $40. In the winter he always wears a heavy beaver coat. He hates evening clothes and seldom wears them.

Is an expert tangoist. And in his youth won several prizes for his ballroom dancing.

The one thing in life he can't stand—it drives him nuts—is the sound of drums.

Anna Held was his first wife. He is now married to Billie Burke. The thing he cherishes most is their daughter, Patricia, age thirteen. One day she tried to catch a butterfly and failed. The next day he bought a $500 collection of butterflies for her.

At rehearsals the brim of his hat is turned down. And he wears a brown sweater vest.

Is a wizard with a rifle. Owns about forty guns. Often will stop at a shooting gallery and win a bet from an innocent friend who doesn't know this.

His monument is his theater. He hates to be re-minded that the letters "Ziegfeld Theatre" over the marquee are removable.

On his desk there are two gold-plated Continental type telephones. They were made especially for him when he complained that he couldn't hear over the ordinary French phones. The gold is polished daily.

Elephants are his luck charm. Always carries a jade elephant in his vest pocket.

He owns three cars. A Rolls-Royce, a Hispano Suiza and a Ford. Has the same license number on all his cars every year.

In his office, on a table in the middle of the room, there is a bronze bust of himself. Next to it is a crystal ball and some elephants of varying sizes. When-ever he is perplexed about something he looks at the statue of himself and rubs the crystal ball with his right hand.

He doesn't know a laugh until someone else laughs.

His pet enemy is Arthur Hammerstein. One day, outside of the New Amsterdam Theatre, a man hit him over the head with an umbrella. To this day he insists that the man mistook him for Arthur Hammerstein.

If his show's a hit he sends the authors gardenias.

His home at Hastings, N. Y., called Burkely Crest, cost nearly a million dollars. The bathroom alone cost $20,000. He has a live bear there and a doll's house (almost large enough to live in) for Patricia. As you enter the estate three parrots greet you by saying: "Hello. Hello. Hello."

Is always pessimistic about new shows. His nick-name is "Gloomy Gus."

He uses one perfume, an especially mixed scent called "Parfum Ziegfeld." Uses it to scent his theater just because his nostrils are used to it. He never stopped to think his audience might not like it.

His daughter Patricia gets a percentage of every show he produces.

Thrives on publicity. Would rather go to court over a bill and gain the publicity than to pay it immediately. One day he sailed for Europe when an international affair held the front pages. Two days later his press agent received this cable: "Why did you sneak me out of America?"

Loves to go fishing and hunting. His favorite pastime, however, is pitching horseshoes. Every Sunday he sees about seven feature pictures at home in his private theater.

Another of his recreations is yachting. Has a change of apparel for each shift of the wind. Sails gayly down the coast while one of his cars follows along the shore, waiting for him to tire of it.

He has very tender skin on his face. Almost like a baby's. Always gets shaved in his office. He doesn't want men in a public barber shop to see him bleed.

When courting Billie Burke he used to meet her secretly in Grant's Tomb.

If he likes you he is not at all a bad guy.

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