Alma Mamay ~ The Lottery Winner

Alma Mamay

Alma Mamay was a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl who later won the lottery.

She was born Alma Cunningham on April 4, 1999 in Jersey City, New Jersey. Her mother, Amanda, had produced several amateur theatrical shows and was friends with Flo Ziegfeld. He hired Alma to dance in the Midnight Frolic in 1920. The following year she competed in the "Queen Of The Beach" beauty pageant. In 1922 she joined the cast of the Ziegfeld Follies. She also appeared on Broadway in Kid Boots and performed in the Greenwich Village Follies. Alma became known for her long, dark hair and she refused to cut it into a bob. She was an extra in the 1925 drama The Making Of O'Malley with Milton Sills. Then she went to West Palm Beach to star in a review. By 1930 she had retired from show business and was living on Riverside Drive in New York City.

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She made headlines in 1934 when she won $152,000 in the Irish sweepstakes. Her mother claimed that the winning ticket was hers and demanded half the money. Alma refused to share the winnings and moved to California. She married William L. Hernstadt, a millionaire oil tycoon, in 1936. He was thirty years older than her. The couple lived in New York City and had three sons. They remained together until 1964 when William passed away at the age of eighty-seven. In 1965 she married Walter Brooks White in Las Vegas. Tragically her youngest son Michael Hernstadt was murdered by a drug dealer in 1984. Alma spent her later years living in Westchester, New York. She died on November 15, 1990 at the age of ninety-one.

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Alma appeared in:
Ziegfeld Follies of 1922 (Jun 05, 1922 - Jun 23, 1923)
Ziegfeld Midnight Frolic [1920] (Feb 01, 1921 - Closing date unknown)