Lillian Lorraine ~ Florenz Ziegfeld's Young Lover

 Lillian Lorraine

Lillian Lorraine was a Follies star who had a passionate love affair with Florenz Ziegfeld.

She was born Lillian Muriel Jaques on January 1, 1892 in San Francisco, California. Her father walked out when she was just six. Lillian and her mother lived in Leadville, Colorado before moving to New York City. She began her career on stage when she was a teenager. At the age of sixteen she was discovered by producer Florenz Ziegfeld. He cast her in the Broadway show Miss Innocence where she sang "By The Light Of The Silvery Moon". Then she appeared in the Ziegfeld Follies and the musical Over The River. Forty-one year old Florenz fell madly in love with Lillian and left his long time girlfriend Anna Held to be with her. He helped to promote her career and commissioned a nude portrait of her. The couple had a tempestuous relationship and they both cheated on each other. Lillian was called "the most beautiful actress in the world". She had auburn hair, blue eyes, and a voluptuous figure. In 1912 she made her film debut in The Immigrants Violin. That same year she impulsively married Frederick Gresheimer, a Chicago millionaire who had dated Fannie Brice. The two women had once gotten into a heated fight over him. Unfortunately he was not legally divorced from his first wife. The couple had to wait and get married again in April of 1913. Soon after Frederick got into a fistfight with Flo Ziegfeld outside a restaurant. 

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Lillian Lorraine

After just three months of marriage she filed for an annulment claiming he had kept her prisoner. Lillian had a starring role in the 1915 drama Should A Wife Forgive. She also appeared in the serial Neal Of The Navy and Playing The Game with Charles Ray. Then in 1918 she returned to the Ziegfeld Follies and starred in the Midnight Frolic. She was badly injured when she fell outside a nightclub in 1921. By this time she had developed a serious drinking problem and her film career had stalled. Her final role was in the comedy Lonesome Corners. She was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1923. Lillian spent the next several years performing in vaudeville. She nearly died in 1928 when her appendix burst. As she grew older she suffered from arthritis and became more reclusive. In February of 1941 she started a fire in her apartment and was hospitalized in a psychiatric ward. Then she began dating an accountant named Jack O'Brien. They were never legally married but they lived together in a common-law marriage. On April 17, 1955 Lillian died in her sleep from natural causes. She was sixty-three years old. Sadly only three people attended her funeral and she was buried in an unmarked pauper's grave. She was later buried in her family's plot at St. Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx, New York. Billie Burke, Flo Ziegfeld's widow, later said that Lillian was the only girl she was every jealous of and that he really loved her.

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Lillian Lorraine 1939
Lillian in 1939