Bessie Poole ~ W.C. Field's Lover

Bessie Poole

Bessie Poole was a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who had a love child with W.C. Fields.

She was born Elizabeth Chatterton Pool on June 25 1895 in Boston, Massachusetts. Her family moved to Wareham, Massachusetts where her father, Lewis Poole, worked as a musician. After Bessie's parents divorced her father returned to Boston and her mother remarried. At the age of sixteen she moved to New York City to become a dancer. She had long legs, black curly hair, and a charming smile. Bessie joined the chorus of the Ziegfeld Follies in 1915. Soon after she started dating married actor W.C. Fields. She was forced to leave the Follies in 1917 when she discovered she was pregnant. Unfortunately W.C. refused to leave his wife for her. On August 15, 1917 she secretly gave birth to a son named William. The baby was adopted by a friend. She returned to the Ziegfeld Follies in 1918 and later went on tour with W.C.'s vaudeville act. Bessie was heartbroken when he ended their romance after nearly ten years together.

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Her stage career stalled and she started drinking. Eventually she moved in with her best friend, actress Lillian Lorraine. When she needed money in 1927 W.C. agreed to give her $20,000 if she signed an affidavit that he was not the father of her son. One evening in October of 1928 Bessie went to the Chez Florence nightclub with two gentlemen friends. A fight broke out and she was hit in the face. She died the following day, October 8, at the young age of thirty-three. Shockingly the medical examiner concluded that her death was caused by alcoholism and a heart ailment. Bessie's father told the press that he believed she was murdered. In her will she left a valuable diamond ring to W.C. Fields. When reporters asked him about it he cruelly denied even knowing her. She was buried at Long Neck Cemetery in Wareham, Massachusetts. Bessie's mother later revealed that she had written a letter on her deathbed that said "Good-by my darlings. If not here I will see you in the next world."

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