43 Stunning Photos Of The Ziegfeld Follies, The 1920s’ Sexiest Broadway Revue

Published April 19, 2016
Updated July 20, 2023

These Ziegfeld Follies photos will transport you back to a time when sex was a touch more glamorous than it is today.

Fanny Brice By Edward Steichen For Vanity Fair
Fanny BricePinterest

Follies Spider Dance Via Maudelynn.tumblr.com
A performance called "spider dance."Pinterest

Harriet Hoctor Via Dieselpunks.org_
Harriet HoctorPinterest

Helen Lee Worthing By Edward Thayer Monroe
Helen Lee WorthingPinterest

Kay White By Edwin Bower Hesser
Kay WhitePinterest

Louise Brooks
Louise BrooksPinterest

Mitzi Mayfair Via Wikipedia
Mitzi MayfairPinterest

Ruth Etting By Alfred Cheney Johnston
Ruth EttingPinterest

The Fairbanks Twins
The Fairbanks Twins, Madeline and Marion Fairbanks.Pinterest

New Amsterdam Theater
The New Amsterdam Theater, which opened in 1903 and hosted the Ziegfeld Follies from 1913 to 1927. Pinterest

Anna Held
Anna Held, Franz Ziegfeld's common-law-wife and star performer. Pinterest

Mary Nolan
Mary Nolan, who went by the stage name Imogen "Bubbles" Wilson. Pinterest

Caryl Bergman By Alfred Cheney Johnston
Caryl Bergman, striking a pose. Ziegfeld himself declared that Bergman "had the most beautiful eyes in America."Twitter

Catherine La Rose By Alfred Cheney
Catherine La RosePinterest

Drucilla Strain By Alfred Cheney Johnston
Drucilla StrainPinterest

Adrienne Ames Ziegfeld Follies
Adrienne Ames, Ziegfeld girl, 1929. Ames made 30 films in the 1930s, and after that hosted a successful radio program until 1947 — the year she died from cancer. Flickr

Alice Wilkie
Alice Wilkie performed in the Follies from 1924 to 1926.Flickr

Anna Lee Petersen
Ziegfeld star Anna Lee Petersen.Flickr

Barbara Stanwyck
Barbara Stanwyck, 1924. This future actress was a Ziegfeld girl between 1922 and 1926, and by 1944, the versatile performer was the highest paid woman in the U.S. Wikimedia Commons

Caryl Bergman
Besides the Follies, Caryl Bergman also performed in four other Broadway shows from 1928 to 1932. Wikimedia Commons

Girls Rehearsing
Ziegfeld Follies girls rehearsing during a hot day in New York. Pinterest

Claudia Dell
Claudia Dell, 1928. Dell was rumored to have been the model for the Columbia Pictures logo.Flickr

Delores Costello
Delores Costello, Drew Barrymore's grandmother and "goddess of the silent screen", 1923.Flickr

Gloria Swanson Photos Of Ziegfeld Follies
Gloria Swanson, producer and actress best known for her role in "Sunset Boulevard."Flickr

Hazel Forbes
Hazel Forbes, Miss Long Island and Miss United States, 1926. Forbes was also a millionaire: She inherited close to $3 million from her husband Paul O. Richmond after his death. Flickr

Helen Hayes Brown
Helen Hayes (Brown), 1927. She was one of only 12 people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award. Flickr

Risque Portrait
An unknown Ziegfeld model. Flickr

Helen Lee Worthing
Helen Lee Worthing was also an actress in the 1920s, performing in "The Count of Luxembourg," "The Other Woman's Story," and "Watch Your Wife." Library of Congress

Susan Fleming
Susan Fleming, 1930s. Fleming went on to be the actress known as the "Girl with the Million Dollar Legs," though that title can’t be verified in this portrait. Flickr

Virginia Biddle
Virginia Biddle, 1927. She was a showgirl and Folly performer until 1931, when she sustained burns on her feet and ankles in a yacht explosion. Wikimedia Commons

Ziegfeld Follies
Jean Ackerman, above, was once called the "World's Most Beautiful Brunette."Flickr

Jean Ackerman
Jean Ackerman, 1927. Flickr

Kathleen Rose Delores
Kathleen Rose (known simply as Delores, not to be confused with Delores Costello) joined the Ziegfeld girls in 1917.Flickr

Kay English
Kay English performed for the Ziegfeld Theatre between 1927 and 1931. Flickr

A poster advertising the Ziegfeld Follies film "Glorifying the American Girl", circa 1929. Pinterest

Louise Brooks
Louise Brooks, the iconic actress who popularized the bob haircut and was the epitome of "flapper" style. Flickr

Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford, who was also the co-founder of United Artists studios and one of the 36 founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Library of Congress

Model Doll
Unknown model posing with doll.Flickr

Muriel Finlay
Murial Finlay made her debut on stage at the age of twelve, appearing in a play she wrote herself. Wikimedia Commons

Photos Of Ziegfeld Follies Girls
Muriel Finlay, 1928. Flickr

Young Doris Eaton Travis
Young Doris Eaton Travis

Young Doris Eaton Travis
Doris Eaton Travis

Eaton Travis Last Ziegeld Girl Washington Post
Doris Eaton Travis, the last living performer from the Ziegfeld Follies. Pinterest

When producer Florenz Ziegfeld put together a small group of showgirls for a lighthearted summer show in 1907, nobody could have imagined the giant Broadway hit and lavish revue it would become. Yet the Ziegfeld Follies ran until 1931 — and would jumpstart the careers of several successful future Hollywood actresses.

For those of us who missed the Follies in their heyday, there's always Alfred Cheney Johnston's iconic, wildly popular Ziegfeld follies photos.

Though there were a startling number of performers in rotation over the years, Johnson's stunning portraits of the Follies' resident vixens capture the epitome of desirability — and in the 1920s, this meant something a little different than it does today.

Take a peek inside Broadway's salacious past with our gallery above.

Now that you've witnessed the Ziegfeld Follies, take a glimpse into what New York City looked like before it was New York, and take a peek at vintage Times Square at the height of its depravity.

Erin Kelly
An All That's Interesting writer since 2013, Erin Kelly focuses on historic places, natural wonders, environmental issues, and the world of science. Her work has also been featured in Smithsonian and she's designed several book covers in her career as a graphic artist.
Erik Hawkins
Erik Hawkins studied English and film at Keene State College in NH and has taught English as a Second Language stateside and in South America. He has done award-winning work as a reporter and editor on crime, local government, and national politics for almost 10 years, and most recently produced true crime content for NBC's Oxygen network.