A Kansan who first registered on Broadway audiences as one of the showgirls in "Showboat" in 1927, Virginia Biddle moved from the netherworld of nude tableaux (in New York's Hollywood Restaurant) onto the revue stage because of her dance ability. A diminutive woman, she was one of the pony girls in the front line of Ziegfeld's choruses. She was first given a featured dance bit in 1928's "Rio Rita," and became a regular presence in Ziegfeld's shows until the final "Follies" of 1931.
Biddle was injured the explosion of Harry Richman's yacht off Long Island in July 1931 which killed her friend and fellow cast member in the 1931 Follies, Helen Walsh. Though she played the benefit performance of the Follies in Walsh's memory, Biddle ended her career on the stage in the wake of the accident. The burns to her feet and ankles forced her to abandon dancing. She sued Richman, her suitor, for $50,000, but received only $50 in damages. Eventually, Biddle married twice, had three children, and enjoyed a successful career as a realtor in Old Saybrook, CT.
NOTES: "A Playboy Can be Tamed," Seattle Daily Times (Jul 16, 1939), 43. Obituary: Virginia Biddle Bulkley, Hartford Courant (Feb 23, 2003). David S. Shields/ALS