The Brains Behind Ziegfeld

Anna Held to followAnna Held came into the world on March 8th, 1873, born as a mermaid Pisces, in Warsaw, Poland. 1881 came and due to the pogroms she and her Jewish family had to flee to Paris. While, in Paris, she began to work in the garment industry, but soon found work as a singer that paid her far better. Anna was pretty, perky beyond cheerful, vivaciously full of live, and flirtatious. Her bright personality shone past her fellow performers in 1896 at a show in London, catching the eye of Florenz Ziegfeld; who wanted to make her a star (pretty sure he wanted to make other things as well). Being already married did not stop Anna from dating Ziegfeld. This joining changed performing history. Anna held considerable influence over Ziegfeld’s development as a showman, and it was she that suggested that he create a show based on the Folies Bergère and Ziegfeld Follies was born.
Anna only performed in the “Follies” in 1907 and by 1908, she could no longer perform due to pregnancy. The following year Ziegfeld moved on to another girl, Lillian Lorraine, and left Anna.

Anna Held, 1902

Anna Held, 1902

Anna spent the rest of her years performing in French Vaudeville shows, never receiving the credit due to her for her part in creating the outrageously hot show. In 1918, at the age 45, she collapsed onstage and died a few months later from multiple myeloma.
A sorrowful ending to a life that had given so much to the history of show business and BIG stage productions.



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