Billie Burke

Billie Burke

1884 - 1970

The actress Billie Burke was born as Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke in Washington.
Her future artistic was more or less inherited because her father worked as a circus clown and she followed him on his tours through die USA and Europe.

Finally her family settled in London where Billie Burke developed her passion for the theater.
She made her stage debut at the age of 18 with the play "The School Girl" and she soon became a very popular theater actress and belonged to the best of her generation.
Only four years later she appeared on Broadway where she made her debut with "My Wife". She was able to continue her success seamlessly.

Hollywood got in touch with Billie Burke in 1916 and she played her first cinematical leading role in "Peggy" (16). For this role she earned $ 40'000.- and was the highest paid actress for a single movie at that time. She also gained a foothold in this métier and it followed numerous movies like  "Gloria's Romance" (16), "The Land of Promise" (17), "Eve's Daughter" (18), "Let's Get a Divorce" (18), "Good Gracious, Annabelle" (19) and "Sadie Love" (19).

In the silent film era of the 20s she only appeared seldom because she retired from the film business after her marriage with the wealthy Florenz Ziegfeld jr. in 1914.
To her few movies of those years belong "The Frisky Mrs. Johnson" (20) and "The Education of Elizabeth" (21).

But with the collapse of the global economy they lost their fortune and Billie Burke returned to the cinema.
In the meantime younger actresses hold the leading roles in the film business but Billie Burke was able to impersonate numerous support roles in which she could demonstrate her acting abilities again.
Her first sound film was "A Bill of Divorcement" (32), it followed "Dinner at Eight" (33) - in this movie she played a role which catapulted her back again to the focus of the audience, "We're Rich Again" (34), "Doubting Thomas" (35), "Splendor" (35), "Piccadilly Jim" (36), "Craig's Wife" (36), "Topper" (37), "The Young in Hart" (38), "Merrily We Live" (38) - for this role she was nominated for an Oscar, "Bridal Suite" (39) and finally "The Wizard of Oz" (39), where she played the good-natured witch Glinda. It is this role she is best remembered today.

The 40s offered her again many roles in movies like "The Ghost Comes Home" (40), "Irene" (40), "The Captain Is a Lady" (40), "The Man Who Came to Dinner" (42), "They All Kissed the Bride" (42), "The Cheaters" (45) and "And Baby Makes Three" (49).

Afterwards her appearances in front of the camera diminished and television became a more important factor.
Her last cinematical works comprise "Father of the Bride" (50), "Father's Little Dividend" (51), "Small Town Girl" (53), "The Young Philadelphians" (59), an episode of the serial "77 Sunset Strip: Publicity Brat" (60) and "Sergeant Rutledge" (60).

The life of her husband was filmed in 1936 with the title "The Great Ziegfeld", the role of Billie Burke was performed by Myrna Loy.

Other movies with Billie Burke:
The Mysterious Miss Terry (17) Arms and the Girl (17) In Pursuit of Polly (18) The Make-Believe Wife (18) The Misleading Widow (19) Wanted: A Husband (19) Away Goes Prudence (20) Christopher Storng (33) Only Yesterday (33) Where Sinners Meet (34) Finishing School (34) Forsaking All Others (34) Society Doctor (35) After Office Hours (35) Becky Sharp (35) She Couldn't Take It (35) A Feather in Her Hat (35) My American Wife (36) Parnell (37) The Bride Wore Red (37) Navy Blue and Gold (37) Everybody Sing (38) Topper Takes a Trip (38) Zenobia (39) Eternally Yours (39) Remember? (39) And One Was Beautiful (40) Dulcy (40) Hullabaloo (40) The Wild Man of Borneo (41) Topper Returns (41) One Night in Lisbon (41) What's Cookin'? (42) In This Our Life (42) Girl Trouble (42) Hi Diddle Diddle (43) So's Your Uncle (43) You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith (43) Gildersleeve on Broadway (43) Swing Out, Sister (45) Breakfast in Hollywood (46) The Bachelor's Daughters (46) Silly Billy (48) Bilie Gets Her Man (48) The Barkleys of Broadway (49) The Boy from Indiana (50) Three Husbands (50) Serie "Lights Out: Dr. Heidegger's Experiment" (50) Serie "The Bigelow Theatre: Dear Amanda" (51) Serie "The Best of Broadway: Arsenic and Old Lace" (55) Serie "The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater: The Big Bargain" (55) Serie "Matinee Theatre: Mother Was a Bachelor" (56) Serie "Playhouse 90: Rumors of Evening" (58)