“I think the eyes flirt most. There are so many ways to use them.” – Anna Held

Helene Anna Held (1872 – 1918) was the common-law wife of Florenze Ziegfeld and a broadway performer/singer. Of course, the reason I find her so interesting is the controversy that surrounded her.

Anna was born in Poland and started her career in London, however, in 1896, Florenz persuaded her to come back to New York with him. Upon arrival, Florenze went to work creating a buzz, getting Anna as much press as possible. As you may know, Ziegfeld was quite famous for creating publicity stunts which eventually led to the famous Ziegfeld Follies. Anna was his star.

She was very popular, outgoing, outspoken- and extremely flirtatious. The controversy? She was very willing to show her legs on stage and her songs were almost always considered risqué. Mon Dieu!

Their marriage was not a happy one- fraught with stories of forced abortions, unrealistic demands, and several mistresses. Anna died at the age of 46 from a very painful form of cancer. Ziegfeld did not attend the services due to his phobia of death. Ass.