Fanny Brice (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 08, 2022

Fanny Brice, who occupies a distinguished and distinctive place in the world of entertainment, was born in New York City, October 29, to Charles and Rose Borasch.

From the day that she learned to talk, she displayed a remarkable power of mimicry, and her impromptu entertainments soon became the show magnet for the entire neighborhood.

She received her theatrical training early. Leaving the house, presumably for school, she often sneaked into theaters and remained, hidden beneath the seats, until the actual play, or at least rehearsals, started. Then, in the seclusion of her own room in the evenings, she would go over and mimic what she had seen during the day.

When she was twelve, Fanny moved, with her family, to Brooklyn.

An amateur night, advertised at Keeney’s Theatre in that city, attracted her attention.

The night arrived. She was brave, that is, she was brave until the moment came for her to do her number. Then panic struck.

Suddenly she found herself pushed bodily on to the stage, facing what seemed a multitude of mildly amused faces.

Ziegfeld Star

She can’t remember, now, many of the details of that first public appearance. She does know that the song she sang was ‘’You Know You’re Not Forgotten by the Girl You Can’t Forget.”

The success she enjoyed at that time, however, prompted her to answer an ad placed by Cohan and Harris, for a new show, “The Talk of New York.”

Her audition was successful, and she was immediately signed as a singer.

But Fanny wasn’t content to be only a songbird. On one memorable occasion she decided to add a dance.

“And that put a temporary end to my stage career,” she laughed.

Her next job was in a Broadway burlesque, in which she featured a number entitled, “Yiddle on the Middle of Your Fiddle.”

It was during this engagement that she was brought to the attention of the famous showman, Florenz Ziegfeld.

Struck by her individuality of style, and her rich, deep voice, Ziegfeld signed her immediately. From that point on her popularity was meteoric.

She appeared in Ziegfeld productions for fourteen years, one season with Belasco, one season with Sam Harris, one season with the Shuberts, and two seasons with Billy Rose’s Revues.

Screen Triumph

Her screen debut occurred in 1927, when she was starred in the production, “My Man,” based upon the song she had made famous. Other productions included “Be Yourself,” and more recently, The Great Ziegfeld, for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, in which she portrayed herself and relived many of the actual experiences she enjoyed while appearing in “Ziegfeld Follies.” That role has been acclaimed the triumph of her notable career.

At the present time Miss Brice is making Hollywood her home. When not actually engaged in work before the camera, she spends spare moments reading volumes of biography and philosophy, or following her hobby of collecting antique furniture.

During the fishing season, she leaves Hollywood for camps in the mountains.

Other than this, she divides her time between Hollywood, and extensive New York vacations which she spends in the company of such old friends as Ann Pennington and Beatrice Lillie.

She recently was signed to a long-term contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937