Do you know who the lovely lady is in this photograph?
Her name was Billie Burke.
She was married to Florence Ziegfeld, an impresario famous for the Ziegfeld Follies, the musical, Show Boat (which he produced), and for making Fanny Brice famous (the person Barbara Streisand portrayed in the movie, “Funny Girl”). Billie, however, was famous in her own right, and you may remember her best for the character she played opposite Judy Garland in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, as seen below:
That’s right. Billie Burke was the benevolent “Glinda,” the Good Witch of the North.
We wouldn’t mention Ms. Burke if she wasn’t a fan of purebred dogs, and in fact, both she and Ziegfeld loved dogs in a big way. Their home, Burkeley Crest in Hastings-on-Hudson, in New York, was also home to their 15 dogs: A Pekingese, Cocker Spaniels, Springer Spaniels, an Irish water spaniel, and a cross between a spaniel and a poodle they took duck hunting. They also loved Sealyham Terriers, “Isabelle,” and “Ziggy” as well as a couple of “police” dogs (their breed undefined, but we’d bet they were German Shepherd Dogs) that the couple had for protection. The dogs slept in their daughter, Patricia’s, room.
The next time you see The Wizard of Oz, feel good about “Glinda,” not just because she helped Dorothy, but because in real life, the actress who portrayed her was a true dog lover.
Image of Billie Burke with a West Highland White Terrier described by one source as one of her early dogs