Yesterday I went to the Detroit Film Theatre to see my favorite Buster Keaton film, The Cameraman. It was wooonderful! Every part of that film is great, especially my favorite scene in the changing room. The DFT is a great place to see a silent movie. It is beautiful inside and the downstairs bathroom/lounge is art deco with pictures of old movie stars on the walls and they have 20s music playing, so it's like you walk down the stairs into another time...which is awesome. The one sour note was that this old guy was walking out in front of me and was talking to his friend and said, "Oh you know, all these young kids come here they think seeing a silent movie is the 'in thing' to do. What do you call them? Hipsters! Yeah, hipsters." My response was "Or maybe I just like silent movies?" Idiot. He had some rank breath too. I am sure I know more about silent film than he does...and I am 40 years younger! Ugh...people...Anyways, Monday the Michigan Theatre is showing Modern Times as part of their Charlie Chaplin film series, so I am gonna try and catch that.
So, back to business. I am gonna start my "Welcome Back" blog with an entry about Anna Held, just to kinda cap off the Ziegfeld entries. She was only in two films, but she still deserves a mention because she was pretty damn amazing on stage. Well, from what I have read...sadly, I wasn't there to witness it myself.
When she was still a child, her family had to flee to France to escape antisemitic forces in her home country. In her teens she worked making fabric before she got a job singing in the theatre.
Anna started to quickly become a well known stage performer famous for being quite risque (like showing her legs and flirting with the audience).
Ziegfeld continued to be behind Anna's career and she eventually became a millionaire. It wasn't just a one way street though, because she helped him too. It was Anna who gave him the ideas for what would eventually become the Ziegfeld Follies.
In 1908 the first production of the Follies were performed...without Anna, who was pregnant with Ziegfeld's baby. It isn't known whether Anna had an abortion or if she miscarried the baby.
In 1909, their affair seemed to cool because his attentions became focused on another Follies Girl, Lillian Lorraine. That affair also cooled because he eventually married actress Billie Burke a few years later in 1914.
She returned to perform in the United States until 1918 when she collapsed onstage.
She was buried at the Cemetery of the Gate of Heaven in Hawthorne, New York.
Ziegfeld didn't attend her funeral, and was publicly lambasted for being mean to Anna and leading her on. People say that they were married, and Anna herself even made comments that they were, but officially, there isn't a record of a legit marriage between the two.
Daughter Liane went on to become an actress like her mother, and even sometimes worked under the name of Anna Held Jr. In 1976, she opened a museum in San Jacinto, California of all her mother's stage memorabilia. Sadly, a few years later, some assholes broke in and stole everything. Liane passed away in 1988.