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Last of the Ziegfeld Follies girls dies

According to the Associated Press, Doris Eaton Travis, the last of the Ziegfeld Follies chorus girls, has died at the age of 106. Travis was the final living link to those lavish Broadway productions of the early 1900s, which combined huge musical numbers staged by Irving Berlin, elaborate costumes designed by Art Deco illustrator Erté, and popular comedians like W.C. Fields, Will Rogers, and Fanny Brice, all backed by dozens of beautiful chorus girls like Travis. The shows were the pinnacle of turn-of-the-century entertainment—spawning numerous localized spin-offs, radio shows, and movies like 1936’s Best Picture-winning The Great Ziegfeld and 1946’s all-star Ziegfeld Follies with Fred Astaire, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, and many more—and playing regularly on Broadway well into the 1930s.

In addition to performing live, Travis also danced on screen in several 1920s silent films, then moved on to instructing after the Depression put a damper on New York’s theater district. Most recently, Travis was drafted for a small but memorable role in Jim Carrey’s Andy Kaufman biopic Man On The Moon, where she played an elderly dancer who collapses while riding a stick horse at his Carnegie Hall show, only to have Carrey resuscitate her. Broadway has said it will dim its lights today in Travis' honor.

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