US theatre manager. Through the ‘Ziegfeld Follies’, which began in 1907 and were produced annually for over twenty-three years, Ziegfeld gave the USA its equivalent of the French Folies-Bergère.
Born in Chicago, Ziegfeld began his career at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago (1893), where he acted as manager for the strongman Eugene Sandow. He subsequently became a theatrical manager and in 1907 produced the first of his famous reviews in New York City, The Follies of 1907. Elaborate sets, scantily clad beautiful girls, and comedy acts were the ingredients of these highly popular revues staged under such slogans as ‘Glorifying the American Girl’. As well as the annual follies Ziegfeld also produced musical shows, such as Show Boat (1927), Rio Rita (1927), and Bitter Sweet (1929). His famous Ziegfeld Theater on the corner of 6th Avenue and 54th Street, New York, was opened in 1927. (After his death it had a chequered career before being demolished in the mid-sixties.) Among the stars promoted by Ziegfeld were Fanny Brice (1891–1951), W. C. Fields (1879–1946), Eddie Cantor (1892–1964), Irene Dunne (1898–1990), Paulette Goddard (1911–90), Maurice Chevalier, and Fred Astaire.