Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson, Daughter of Famous Broadway Showman, Dies

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27 Apr 2008

Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson, the only daughter of legendary Broadway impresario Florenz Ziegfeld and actress Billie Burke, died of congestive heart failure April 11 at her home in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times reported. She was 91.



Ms. Stephenson was born Oct. 23, 1916, in New York City, when her father was the king of Broadway, producing an annual Follies featuring the cream of Broadway talent. He had married Burke, an actress nearly 20 years his junior, in 1913.

Her parents pampered her, buying her whatever she desired. When Patti was six, the producer bought her an elephant. Other animals that were added to the family's menagerie in Hastings-on-Hudson included two lion cubs, two bears, six ponies, a herd of deer and several cockatoos.

Mr. Ziegfeld died in 1932, when his daughter was still a teenager. After that, her mother moved her to California, where she attended UCLA for a while. In 1939, she married William Stephenson, an architect who designed homes for many of Hollywood's leading citizens. He died last October. The couple had three daughters, Cecilia Duncan, Florenz Crossley and Susan Plemons; and a son, W. Robert Stephenson Jr.

In 1963, she published an autobiography called "The Ziegfelds' Girl: Confessions of an Abnormally Happy Childhood," in which she told colorful backstage tales about the people in her parents' circle. She appeared as herself in "Ziegfeld on Film" and "Broadway: The American Musical," both in 2004.