Tuesday, March 1, 2022

March 1st...My Second Star to Showcase

 My dad was born on March 14, 1913, well, we always celebrated on March 14th but we found out his birthday was actually February 15th. He was adamant that the government was wrong even though my mom mentioned that he could have been baptised on March 14th. He would have none of it, so I will always state his birthday was March 14th:)). He was 51 when I was born and 52 when my mom and dad started the sawmill business. I would never want to start something brand new at 52...yikes! Anyway, in honour of my dad, I chose a star born on March 14th who never let age stop her (or good genes).

DORIS EATON TRAVIS


BORN- March 14, 1904

DIED- May 11, 2010

AGE- 106 Years Young

DIED FROM- Aneurysm

MARRIED- Twice

CHILDREN-None

AFFAIRS-Nacio Herb Brown (song writer). He wrote, "Singing In The Rain" for her

KNOWN FOR; Being the last Ziegfeld Girl. Introducing the song "Singing In The Rain"

This lady really impressed me because she danced until almost the day she died. In the very early days, her elder sister Pearl, another sister, Mary and brothers, Joe & Charles, were billed as the Seven Little Eatons even though they were not all siblings (I think a cousin or 2 were in the act) nor were there 7 but it didn't matter because they became well liked for being prompt, knowing what they had to do and being gifted (Big sis Evelyn was the  "stage mom"). Mary became quite famous on Broadway and starred with The Marx Brothers in "The Coconuts" before her career went sideways. Good Ole Doris  was a Ziegfeld showgal when she was only 14 which was a huge no no. To avoid the Child Labour Laws, she changed her name to Doris Levant  until she turned 16 and was legal to dance on stage in skimpy outfits. 

Doris landed in films and Broadway as an understudy to Marilyn Miller and she is the one who introduced  the songs "Singing In The Rain" and "The Doll Dance" where she wrote the lyrics to the latter song but never got the credit. By the mid 1930s her career was winding down so she ended up at the Arthur Murray dance studios as a dance instructor. This career spanned 32 years where she owned 18 dance studios and had her own TV show in Detroit. She married one of her pupils, in 1949 ( Paul Travis) and they started a horse ranch! Their marriage was very happy and they remained together for over 50 years until he passed away. Oh, she graduated from the University of Oklahoma at 88 years old Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa and, at 101, she went back to get her Masters!

She became even more famous when she appeared, with 4 other former Ziegfeld gals, at the restored New Amsterdam Theatre, for an AIDS benefit and danced the same dance she did back in 1917 or something like that. She was asked back every year after that and appeared on stage in many other places. She wrote a book about herself and her family titled "The Days We Danced" and spoke about her days in the theatre and film including the sad part of her family members, like Mary, who died alcoholics and Pearl, who was murdered (Unsolved). She credited her good health to staying away from alcohol and dancing. What A Gal!

FILMS:

Tell Your Children-1922

The Broadway Peacock-1922

Taking The Count(Short)-1928

Street Girl-1929

The Very Idea-1929

Man On The Moon-1999



Isn't she the bees knees?


28 comments:

  1. She is someone I have never heard of.
    My Dad's brother went to enlist in WWII and discovered that his birthdate was also wrong. The family always celebrated on his Saint's Day. I have found several people in my family tree who celebrated on the day of their baptism and not the day of their birth. Hopefully, we are now a little better at recording and observing actual dates.

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    1. That is interesting and I bet many went by their baptism or Saint’s Day.

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  3. Hi, Birgit!

    Your father was born one year after Margaret Schneider and seven months before my father. You're right, dear friend. He got a late start as a parent and on the sawmill phase of his career.

    Thanks for introducing Doris Travis, an extremely cute showgirl blessed with a very long life that lasted a year longer than Margaret Schneider's. I see that Doris, like your dad, didn't let advancing age stop her for making major life decisions. I believe that is one of the keys to longevity - staying in the game, staying interested and involved in numerous things, always learning and growing. That video literally made me cry. There was Doris, the oldest of the bunch, looking fresher, happier, more alert and more fit than all the other women, and she proceeded to amaze the audience with not one but two dance performances, looking as agile as a 20-something, unafraid of falling and breaking a hip as she spinned. When finished, she didn't even seem out of breath. I'm surprised she didn't pull a "Jack Palance" - drop the the floor and do 50 one-armed push-ups!

    Thank you for introducing Doris Travis, dear fried BB. She was an extraordinary woman and an inspiration to us all!

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    1. She is amazing isn’t she. I was just smiling when I saw her dance. She was lucky to have that pluck along with great genes and a love of life. Wow, my dad was older than your dad...to me, he was just my dad.

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  4. Birgit,

    Your dad was 5-years younger than my paternal grandmother. I think her birthday is June 9, 1908. She passed away in September 1980.

    I love the roaring 20s and 30s along with the Ziegfeld Girls era! That Doris was some kind of gal at 94. She absolutely blew me away with how good she could move let along dance quite the heart pacing routine for someone her age. I immediately noticed her youth on her face when she first appeared on the stage. I knew she had more kick then I expected and boy, did she ever impress me. Thanks for sharing this delightful post.

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    1. Yeah, my dad was older, I guess. My grandmom, his mom, died in 1919 when he was only 6 yrs old. This lady went back every year, after this one and danced. She just made me smile.

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  5. I just found out that my dad was actually born in 1914, not 1913 as I had thought. Mom always said that he was 10 years older than she was and I knew she was born in 1923 so I just assumed but when I was going through papers after she passed I found my dad's death certificate and it was March 13, 1914! I always said I was his birthday present because I was born on March 10 but got to come home on the 13th. In those days they let moms stay in the hospital longer. Interesting story about Doris. Are you doing the A to Z this year?

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    1. No, I’m staying out of the A.to Z again. I always find it creeps up on me. Yes, my mom was in for 5 days when she had my brother and me. Now I think the6 Ick the mom’s out way too early. Funny what we find out after parents pass away.

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  6. What a nice way to honor the memory of your dad. I'm sure he's smiling:)
    My mom started nursing school at 51 with three little kids at home. She'd always wanted to be a nurse. She got her degree and worked for several years.

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    1. Thank you! Wow, what a way to be...your mom is inspiring especially since I feel a bit lost right now. She had to sacrifice a lot to become a nurse.

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  7. I've never heard of her, but I'm glad to have that corrected. Wow, what a life. And as for starting something at 52, considering I'm 2 years away from that now, I wouldn't say no to it. I'm considering making some changes, and I don't feel too old to begin.

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    1. Good for you! You go get it whatever it may be. I am 57 and would not want to start a business but I am out of a job so I am having to reinvent myself now. Glad you liked learning about this lady.

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  8. Wow! Never heard of this lady, but she has quite a story in her life. She left quite a legacy behind her.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed reading about her,

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  9. Some people never lose it, and it's obvious she never did.

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  10. She certainly is the bees knees. And wow, she lived a really long time. I'm not familiar with her, until you now introduced her to me. Happy March Birgit.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed reading about her. Let’s have a good March...not an actual March:)

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  11. She is the bees knees - and I had never heard of her till now. One of my cousins has her birthday on March 14th.

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    1. You will have to tell her about this wonderful woman.

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  12. Wow, 106 years old! That’s what feisty gets you. There was confusion around my dad’s birthdate, too. We celebrated July 25 but it turned out he was born on July 15. He had a baptismal document written in Spanish. Nobody, including my dad and me (until after his death), didn’t take the time to translate it correctly. Daddy being a Cancer made more sense than being a Leo.

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    1. She is feisty so I plan to be feisty..hahahaaa. Funny, my dad seems to fit a Pisces more than an Aquarian which was my mom.

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  13. Thanks for the introduction to Doris Eaton Travis, Birgit. What a remarkable woman! Interesting anecdote about your dad's birthdate. Admirable that he started a new business in his 50s!

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    1. I am glad that you like my post about Doris. My dad and mom were pretty special because i would not want to start a new business now. I certainly can't think of having a 6 yrs old running around the house.

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  14. Very cool pick Birgit! I'm more familiar with Mary Eaton who apparently had a wild reputation in her day.

    The only one of Doris' films that I've seen is Street Girl. It's been a while but I remember it being a pleasant trifle. I watched it to get a glimpse of Russ Columbo, though it was more of a cameo for him. The best showcase I've seen for him was his final film Wake Up and Dream which was released posthumously after that terrible freak gun accident that killed him.

    Back to Doris I do remember reading about her passing and marveling at both her great age and her story.

    Another wonderful addition to this great series!

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    1. Hi Joel:))... Yes, I knew about Mary but, through Mary I learned about Doris and was amazed at her hutzbah! I have not seen Street Girl but want to. Poor Russ Columbo and I was amazed how Carole Lombard and everyone kept his death from his mom. Doris was one of a kind and I would have loved to talk to her.

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  15. I don't know her at all. Thanks for sharing!

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