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Rose Dolores

Biography: 

(1892-1975)

Rose Dolores was the most famous Ziegfeld girl, the apotheosis of the style of patrician, self-possessed, beautiful woman around whom the spectacle of the Broadway revue radiated. Featured in the Follies and Frolics from 1917-1920, her amble across the stage in a peacock costume designed by Pachaud of Paris in the 1919 Midnight Frolic is cited by many as the most spectacular single visual effect in any Ziegfeld production.

Dolores was born Kathleen Marie Rose to a poor English family and became the hired girl of fashion designer Lady Duff Gordon, "Lucille" the couturier. Realizing that the girl's height and cornsilk blonde hair would make a great effect on the runway, Gordon, taught the girl how to walk, talk, and pose like a duchess. When Lady Gordon transferred her business to New York City during the First World War, she brought Dolores and several other models with her. Ziegfeld attended a fashion show in 1917, hired Lucille to be his costume designer and Dolores to be a Ziegfeld girl.

Combining the stage tutelage of Ned Wayburn, who taught her to strut, with the runway tutelage of Lucille, Dolores elevated attitude to stratospheric heights. Mobbed by well-heeled admirers, Dolores in 1923 finally consented to wed St. Louis millionaire and art collector, Tudor Wilkinson, who ensconced her in his Parisian mansion along with his Joshua Reynolds paintings, renaissance bronzes, and Louis IV furniture. They lived happily ever after. David S. Shields/ALS