People we love: Billie Burke

Mary William Ethelbert Appleton “Billie” Burke, August 7, 1884 – May 14, 1970

Born on this day in 1884.

Only bad witches are ugly, and as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, how could we not believe her?

American actress Bille Burke was 54 years old when she played that role. She made her acting debut in 1903 in a London production of The School Girl. From there she went on to Broadway.

While on Broadway she was noticed by producer Florenz Ziegfield whom she was married to from 1914 until his death in 1932. While she worked in the movies, she preferred the stage because it allowed her to have speaking roles.

She returned to Hollywood in 1932 and starred as Margaret Fairfield in A Bill of Divorcement. Ziefield died during the film’s production. In all she appeared in more than 60 films, the most famous of course being The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1939.

Her last screen appearance was in Sergeant Rutledge, a Western directed by John Ford in 1960.

Billie Burke died on May 14, 1970 of natural causes. She was 85.

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