Anna Held (1870?-1918) was America's most popular musical comedy star during the two decades preceding World War I. In the colorful world of New York theater during La Belle Époque, she epitomized everything that was glamorous, sophisticated, and suggestive about turn-of-the-century Broadway. Overcoming an impoverished life as an orphan to become a music-hall star in Paris, Held rocketed to fame in America. From 1896 to 1910, she starred in hit after hit and quickly replaced Lillian Russell as the darling of the theatrical world. The first wife of legendary producer Florenz Ziegfeld Jr., Held was the brains and inspiration behind his Follies and shared his knack for publicity. Together, they brought the Paris scene to New York, complete with lavish costumes and sets and a chorus of stunningly beautiful women, dubbed "The Anna Held Girls."
While Held was known for a champagne giggle as well as for her million-dollar bank account, there was a darker side to her life. She concealed her Jewish background and her daughter from a previous marriage. She suffered through her two husbands' gambling problems and Ziegfeld's blatant affairs with showgirls. With the outbreak of fighting in Europe, Held returned to France to support the war effort. She entertained troops and delivered medical supplies, and she was once briefly captured by the German army. Anna Held and the Birth of Ziegfeld's Broadway reveals one of the most remarkable women in the history of theatrical entertainment. With access to previously unseen family records and photographs, Eve Golden has uncovered the details of an extraordinary woman in the vibrant world of 1900s New York.
Prologue: The Hotel Astor, New York, December 21, 1913
Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl
It Pays to Advertise
The Belle of New York
Poor Little Rich Girl
A Lucky Star
The Mansion of Aching Hearts
The Unchastened Woman
Under Two Flags
The Last Rose of Summer
Epilogue: The Melody Lingers On
"Captures effectively Held's unique charm and stage presence and provides new insights into Held's often less-than-glamorous personal and professional life, including her war efforts in France during WWI." -- Choice
"In this extravagantly entertaining biography, Golden places Held squarely center stage while painting a meticulously detailed portrait of the dawn of the last century.... Readers will succumb to her vibrantly told tale." -- Publishers Weekly