Lillian Lorraine (Lillian Lorraine)

Lillian Lorraine

Born in San Francisco, California, Lillian Lorraine began her career on stage in 1906 at the age of 14. An entertainer of limited talent but charismatic stage presence and beauty, in 1907 she was 15 years old and a minor performer in a Shubert production, The Tourists, when she was discovered by Florenz Ziegfeld. He spent the next several years promoting her career, rocketing her into an ascendance, which made her one of the most popular attractions in his Follies. Some sources claim her birth name was Ealallean De Jacques, although this has not been conclusively determined, nor if her parents were in fact from France, as she once claimed. In 1909, Ziegfeld pulled the 17-year-old Lorraine from the chorus line in that year’s production of “Miss Innocence”, spotlighting her as a solo performer who became celebrated for introducing the song, “By the Light of the Silvery Moon”. Author Lee Davis, in his book, Scandals and Follies, writes that: “By 1911, [Ziegfeld] was insanely in love with Lillian Lorraine and would remain so, to one degree or another, for the rest of his life, despite her erratic, irresponsible, often senseless behavior, her multiple marriages to other men, his own two marriages and his need for all his adult life to sleep with the best of the beauties he hired.”

The relationship, both professional and romantic, between Ziegfeld and Lorraine, led to the demise of his marriage to actress Anna Held. (A fictitious character, Audrey Dane, clearly based on Lorraine was portrayed by Virginia Bruce in the 1936 motion picture The Great Ziegfeld.) Lorraine and Ziegfeld’s relationship was turbulent and emotionally complex, but their passion was such that Ziegfeld’s second wife, actress Billie Burke, confessed that Lorraine was the only one of Ziegfeld’s past sexual entanglements that aroused her jealousy. Lillian Lorraine starred in many annual productions of The Ziegfeld Follies as well as the 1912 Broadway musical Over the River. She ventured into motion pictures with limited success, appearing in about ten films between 1912 and 1922, including the serial Neal of the Navy with William Courtleigh, Jr. Lillian Lorraine disappeared from public view in 1941, sometimes going by her mother’s maiden name, Mary Ann Brennan. She died on April 17, 1955 at age 63 in New York City. Her funeral, which was held at Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church, was attended by her husband, her accountant and two friends. Lorraine was initially buried in a pauper’s grave in Calvary Cemetery in Queens. Her body was later exhumed and moved to a friend’s family plot in Saint Raymond’s Cemetery, Bronx.

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Born

  • January, 01, 1892
  • USA
  • San Francisco, California

Died

  • April, 17, 1955
  • USA
  • New York, New York

Cemetery

  • Saint Raymonds Cemetery
  • Bronx, New York
  • USA

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