Edna Leedom ~ The Tragic Housewife

Edna Leedom

Edna Leedom was a popular Ziegfeld Girl who gave up her career for marriage but died young.

She was born on October 9, 1896 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When she was a teenager she worked at a department store and sang in a local choir. Edna started her career performing a comedy act in vaudeville. Her first marriage, to Billy Edmunds, ended in divorce. She married Harry Tighe, her vaudeville costar, in 1920. They divorced in 1922 after he cheated on her with actress Mabel Haley. Composer Dave Stamper saw Edna on stage and asked her to be in his new show. The duo quickly fell in love and he left his wife for her. She was invited to join the Ziegfeld Follies in 1923. The beautiful blonde became popular singing a novelty song titled "Nails Nails Nails.". After leaving the Follies she starred on Broadway in the shows No Foolin' and Lovely Lady. Edna and Dave were married on July 16, 1926. Unfortunately their marriage was over a year later. She married Frank Doelger, a millionaire brewery heir, in March of 1928. Then she decided to quit showbusiness to become a full-time housewife. Frank showered her with expensive gifts including a $25,000 diamond necklace.

Edna LeedomEdna Leedom

Their son, Frank Jr, was born in July in 1929. He became the heir to an eight million dollar fortune. She made headlines in 1930 when Mrs. Doris K. Endor sued her for $400,000 for alienation of affection. Mrs. Endor claimed that she found Edna alone with her husband wearing only pajamas. The case was settled in 1931 for $3,000. Soon after she was sued by Producer Lee Shubert for walking out on her contract when she married Frank. By the Spring of 1931 she had separated from her husband and was living with her son in a modest home in Queens. Her legal troubles continued when she was sued by her former attorney who said she owned him more than $56,000. Edna and Frank tried to reconcile several times but they continued to live apart. She devoted most of her time to raising her son Frank Jr. Tragically on October 15, 1937 she died from pneumonia at the young age of forty-one. She was buried at St. John Cemetery in Middle Village, New York. Sadly Frank Doelger died in 1943 leaving their son an orphan at age fourteen.

Edna Leedom Edna Leedom 1934

Edna Leedom Frank Doelger Article