Known for movies

Short Info

DiedMay 14, 1970, Los Angeles, California, United States
SpouseFlorenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
FactBegan her show business career on stage in the British provinces.
PaymentsEarned $300,000 from Gloria's Romance (1916)

Billie Burke (1884-1970) was an American actress who was best known for her role as Glinda the Good Witch in the 1939 film classic The Wizard of Oz.

Burke was born Mary William Ethelbert Appleton Burke in Washington, D.C., on August 7, 1884. Her parents were William and Martha Burke. She had two sisters, Josephine and Marian. Burke was educated at the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Washington and the Academy of the Sacred Heart in New York City.

Burke’s acting career began on the stage. She made her Broadway debut in 1903 in The Wild Rose. She went on to appear in a number of successful Broadway productions, including The Girl with the Green Eyes (1905), The Wizard of Oz (1906), and The Honeymooners (1908).

In 1914, Burke made her film debut in The Perils of Pauline. She went on to appear in a number of silent films, including The Lost World (1925), The Unholy Three (1925), and The Great Gatsby (1926).

With the advent of sound films, Burke’s career took off. She appeared in a number of successful films, including Dinner at Eight (1933), Merrily We Live (1938), and The Wizard of Oz (1939). She also appeared in the popular television series Topper (1953-1955).

Burke was married three times. Her first husband was Frank Fay, an actor and comedian. They were married from 1914 to 1931 and had one child, a daughter named Barbara. Burke’s second husband was Gregory Ratoff, a Russian-born film director. They were married from 1932 to his death in 1960. Burke’s third husband was John Wodehouse, 3rd Earl of Kimberley, a British aristocrat. They were married from 1962 until his death in 1966.

Burke died of natural causes on May 14, 1970, at the age of 85.

General Info

Full NameBillie Burke
DiedMay 14, 1970, Los Angeles, California, United States
Height1.6 m
ProfessionActor, Singer


SpouseFlorenz Ziegfeld, Jr.
ChildrenPatricia Ziegfeld Stephenson
ParentsBlanche E. Burke, William Burke


NominationsAcademy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
MoviesThe Wizard of Oz, Topper, Dinner at Eight, Father of the Bride, Sergeant Rutledge, Merrily We Live, Father's Little Dividend, The Man Who Came to Dinner, A Bill of Divorcement, Topper Returns, Christopher Strong, The Barkleys of Broadway, Topper Takes a Trip, Becky Sharp, The Young in Heart, The You...

Social profile links


Gloria's Romance (1916)$300,000
Peggy (1916)$40,000


1[on her husband, Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.] Ziegfeld has been portrayed as a man who pursued women. I have even come across a word which, in regard to him, is not only vulgar but incredibly inaccurate. The word is "Chaser." By all the pink-toed prophets, Flo Ziegfeld was never that! Flo never pursed any woman. He was cool and aloof and difficult. But there were times, more times than I prefer to recall, when he made a woman eager for his approval by a mere look, or a small expression, or by a slight grasp of her elbow, a low mumbling request to dance. That was all the effort he ever had to make. The story of one noted dancing girl about how Flo Ziegfeld used to batter down her door is a confection of sheer poppycock. I tell you: I know better.
2By the time you get your name up in lights you have worked so hard and so long, and seen so many names go up and down, that all you can think of is: "How can I keep it here?"
3[on Hollywood] To survive there, you need the ambition of a Latin-American revolutionary, the ego of a grand opera tenor and the physical stamina of a cow pony.
4Age is something that doesn't matter, unless you are a cheese.
5[on why she retired] Acting just wasn't any fun anymore.


1She was played by Myrna Loy in "The Great Ziegfeld".
2During her early years on the American stage, she mixed socially with Mark Twain, Booth Tarkington, Enrico Caruso, and Somerset Maugham.
3She is the 21st great granddaughter of King Edward I.
4Her father was the internationally known English clown Billy Burke, who came to the U.S. with P. T. Barnum's circus.
5Began her show business career on stage in the British provinces.
6Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.
7The $40,000 she was paid for eight weeks work for Peggy (1916) was the largest salary ever paid up to that point to an actor for a single film.
8A 1919 Cadillac, owned by her and husband Florenz Ziegfeld Jr. is now in the possession of best-selling author Clive Cussler.
9Daughter, with Florenz Ziegfeld Jr.: Patricia Ziegfeld Stephenson, born 1916.
10Interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, USA.
11Best known as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North in The Wizard of Oz (1939).




Pepe1960Billie Burke
Sergeant Rutledge1960Mrs. Cordelia Fosgate
77 Sunset Strip1960TV SeriesMavis Matthews Conway
The Young Philadelphians1959Mrs. J. Arthur Allen
Playhouse 901957-1958TV SeriesMrs. Purcell / Mrs. Rutledge
Matinee Theatre1956TV SeriesAunt
The Eddie Cantor Comedy Theater1955TV Series
The Best of Broadway1955TV SeriesMartha Brewster
Small Town Girl1953Mrs. Livingston
Doc Corkle1952TV Series
All Star Revue1951TV SeriesGuest Actress
Father's Little Dividend1951Doris Dunstan
The Bigelow Theatre1951TV SeriesAunt Amanda
Lights Out1950TV Series
Three Husbands1950Mrs. Jenny Bard Whittaker
Father of the Bride1950Doris Dunstan
The Boy from Indiana1950Zelda Bagley
And Baby Makes Three1949Mrs. Marvin Fletcher
The Barkleys of Broadway1949Mrs. Livingston Belney
Billie Gets Her Man1948ShortBillie Baxter
Silly Billy1948ShortBillie
The Bachelor's Daughters1946Molly Burns
Breakfast in Hollywood1946Mrs. Frances Cartwright
The Cheaters1945Clara Pidgeon
Swing Out, Sister1945Jessica Mariman
Gildersleeve on Broadway1943Mrs. Laura Chandler
You're a Lucky Fellow, Mr. Smith1943Aunt Harriet Crandall
So's Your Uncle1943Aunt Minerva
Hi Diddle Diddle1943Liza Prescott
Girl Trouble1942Mrs. Rowland
They All Kissed the Bride1942Mrs. Drew
In This Our Life1942Lavinia Timberlake
What's Cookin'1942Agatha Courtney
The Man Who Came to Dinner1942Mrs. Ernest W. Stanley aka Daisy
One Night in Lisbon1941Catherine Enfilden
Topper Returns1941Mrs. Topper
The Wild Man of Borneo1941Bernice Marshall
Hullabaloo1940Penny Merriweather
Dulcy1940Eleanor Forbes
The Captain Is a Lady1940Blossy Stort
Irene1940Mrs. Vincent
And One Was Beautiful1940Mrs. Julia Lattimer
The Ghost Comes Home1940Cora Adams
Remember?1939Mrs. Bronson
Eternally Yours1939Aunt Abby
The Wizard of Oz1939Glinda
Bridal Suite1939Mrs. McGill
Zenobia1939Mrs. Tibbett
Topper Takes a Trip1938Mrs. Topper
The Young in Heart1938Marmy Carleton
Merrily We Live1938Mrs. Kilbourne
Everybody Sing1938Diana Bellaire
Navy Blue and Gold1937Mrs. Alyce Gates
The Bride Wore Red1937Contessa di Meina
Topper1937Mrs. Clara Topper
Craig's Wife1936Mrs. Frazier
Piccadilly Jim1936Eugenia Willis, Nesta's Sister
My American Wife1936Mrs. Robert Cantillon
A Feather in Her Hat1935Julia Trent Anders
She Couldn't Take It1935Mrs. Daniel Van Dyke
Doubting Thomas1935Paula Brown
Becky Sharp1935Lady Bareacres
After Office Hours1935Mrs. Norwood
Society Doctor1935Mrs. Crane
Forsaking All Others1934Aunt Paula
We're Rich Again1934Mrs. Linda Page
Finishing School1934Mrs. Helen Crawford Radcliff
Where Sinners Meet1934Eustasia
Only Yesterday1933Julia Warren
Dinner at Eight1933Millicent Jordan
Christopher Strong1933Lady Strong - His Wife
A Bill of Divorcement1932Margaret
Glorifying the American Girl1929Billie Burke (uncredited)
The Education of Elizabeth1921Elizabeth Banks
The Frisky Mrs. Johnson1920Belle Johnson
Away Goes Prudence1920Prudence Thorne
Wanted: A Husband1919Amanda Darcy Cole
Sadie Love1919Sadie Love
The Misleading Widow1919Betty Taradine
Good Gracious, Annabelle1919Annabelle Leigh
The Make-Believe Wife1918Phyllis Ashbrook
In Pursuit of Polly1918Polly Marsden
Let's Get a Divorce1918Mme. Cyprienne Marcey
Eve's Daughter1918Irene Simpson-Bates
The Land of Promise1917Nora Marsh
Arms and the Girl1917Ruth Sherwood
The Mysterious Miss Terry1917Mavis Terry
Gloria's Romance1916Gloria Stafford (as Miss Billie Burke)
Peggy1916Peggy Cameron


Britain's Most Dangerous Songs: Listen to the Banned2014TV Movie documentary performer: "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead"
Hi Diddle Diddle1943performer: "The Pilgrim's Chorus" - uncredited
The Wizard of Oz1939performer: "Munchkinland Medley: 'Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are', 'The House Began To Pitch', 'As Mayor of the Munchkin City', 'As Coroner, I Must Aver', 'Ding Dong The Witch is Dead', 'Lullaby League', 'Lollipop Guild', and 'We Welcome You to Munchkinland'" 1939 - uncredited
Bridal Suite1939performer: "Funiculi, Funicula" 1880 - uncredited
Zenobia1939performer: "I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls" 1843 - uncredited
We're Rich Again1934performer: "She'll Be Comin' 'Round the Mountain When She Comes"


TV Club1951TV Series documentaryHerself
The Ed Wynn Show1950TV SeriesHerself
Texaco Star Theatre1949TV SeriesHerself
Picture People No. 2: Hollywood Sports1941ShortHerself
Screen Snapshots Series 9, No. 201930ShortHerself, Mrs. Florenz Ziegfeld
Our Mutual Girl, No. 41914ShortHerself
Our Mutual Girl1914Herself
Biograph Beauty Postcard1905ShortHerself

Archive Footage

To Oz! The Making of a Classic2009Video documentary shortHerself
Today Tonight2009TV SeriesGlinda
Because of the Wonderful Things It Does: The Legacy of Oz2005Video documentary shortGlinda
Broadway: The American Musical2004TV Mini-Series documentaryHerself
Ziegfeld on Film2004Video documentary shortHerself
The Legend Floyd: The Dark Side of the Rainbow2000TV MovieGlinda
That's Entertainment! III1994DocumentaryClip from 'The Wizard of Oz' (uncredited)
Hal Roach: Hollywood's King of Laughter1994TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 50 Years of Magic1990TV Movie documentaryHerself
The Laurel and Hardy Show1986TV SeriesBessie Tibbett (1986)
Bob Hope's World of Comedy1976TV MovieTribute Montage
Hollywood: The Selznick Years1969TV Movie documentaryActress 'Dinner at Eight' (uncredited)
Ford Star Jubilee1956TV SeriesGlinda
Columbia Laff Hour1956
The Golden Twenties1950DocumentaryHerself


Won Awards

1960Star on the Walk of FameWalk of FameMotion PictureOn 8 February 1960. At 6617 Hollywood Blvd.

Nominated Awards

1939OscarAcademy Awards, USABest Actress in a Supporting RoleMerrily We Live (1938)

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

Write A Comment

Pin It