When The Ziegfeld Follies Entertained New York
Florenz Ziegfeld was born on March 21, 1869, in Chicago. He was involved in theater from a young age, and in 1893, his father encouraged him to use the Chicago World’s Fair as a business opportunity. He was initially not a success, but once he started to work on publicity for Eugen Sandow, he made a profit which helped to encourage him.
During a trip to Europe, Ziegfeld met Anna Held, a Polish-French singer and actress, and they entered into a common law marriage in 1897. He promoted Held in America, and she found success in several of his Broadway shows, including A Parisian Model (1906). However, much of her success came because of rumors fed to the press and Ziegfeld’s creation of publicity stunts. Ziegfeld created the Ziegfeld Follies at the suggestion of Held, and the Follies were inspired by the Parisian Folies Bergère. One of Ziegfeld’s goals was to put on shows that embraced “erotic abandon,” and his initial shows were produced by Klaw and Erlanger.