28 March 2011

Billie Burke

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton "Billie" Burke (August 7, 1884 – May 14, 1970) was an American actress.She is primarily known to modern audiences as Glinda the Good Witch of the North in the musical film The Wizard of Oz.

Known as Billie Burke, she toured the United States and Europe with her father, a singer. Her family ultimately settled in London where she was fortunate to see plays in London's West End. In 1903, she began acting on stage, making her debut in London in The School Girl. She eventually returned to America to become the toast of Broadway as a musical comedy star.

There she caught the eye of producer Florenz Ziegfeld, marrying him in 1914. In 1916, they had one daughter, Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson (1916–2008). Burke was quickly signed for the movies, making her film debut in the title role of Peggy (1916). She continued to appear on the stage, and sometimes she starred on the screen. She loved the stage more than movie-business, not only because it was her first love, but also because it allowed her to have speaking parts (impossible in silent movies).

But when the family's savings were wiped out in the Crash of 1929, she had no choice but to return to the screen. In 1932 Billie Burke made her Hollywood comeback, starring as Margaret Fairfield in A Bill of Divorcement, directed by George Cukor. Burke played Katherine Hepburn's mother in the film, which was Hepburn's debut). Despite the death of Florenz Ziegfeld during the film's production, Burke resumed filming shortly after his funeral.

Burke wrote two autobiographies, both with Cameron Van Shippe, With a Feather on My Nose (Appleton 1949) and With Powder on My Nose (Coward McCann, 1959).

In the late 1950s, her failing memory led to her retirement from show business, although her explanation for that was, "Acting just wasn't any fun anymore." Billie Burke died in Los Angeles of natural causes, aged 85.

source: Wikipedia


  1. Billie doesn't appear to be as collectable as some other actresses. I recently went to a postcard fair, lots of Lily Elsie and naturally Gabrielle Ray but not very many of Billie Burke; either she is so collectable that collectors don't part with them or there weren't that many published.


  2. Well, there's always the internet... ;)

    Thank you so much again for the links! What a great site. I will add it to my list of sources, if you don't mind, of course...

  3. Thank you, I am pleased that you like my collection, the site does have a real mix and may offend some, although I hope not, whereas my Gabrielle Ray site, and thanks for the link is just dedicated to her.

  4. Well, I don't feel offended and with time I'll do a thorough search :)
    Great collection!


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